FIGHTING TO THE FINISH: Lady Tigers fall in tightly contested finals
The Straughn Lady Tigers found themselves in the championship game of the Straughn High School Thanksgiving Basektball Tournament on Tuesday against Daleville, but a last-second shot from the Lady Warhawks left Straughn as runner-up.
DALEVILLE 35, STRAUGHN 34
In the tournament’s championship game, the Lady Tigers held the lead for nearly the entire game before a last-second bucket gave Daleville a 35-34 championship victory.
The Lady Tigers got on the board first when Allie Kelley sank a short jumper.
Kelley then picked up an assist off of a pass to Caroline Wood ended up with a Lady Tiger bucket.
Kelley followed with a layup to put the Lady Tigers up 6-0 early in the first period.
A few minutes later, Kelley knocked down a pair of free throws.
The Lady Tigers closed out the first period with a 3-pointer from Alyssa Dean to give Straughn a 13-5 advantage heading into the second period.
Scoring was at a premium in the second period as the Lady Tigers managed to hold onto a 17-11 lead at halftime.
Opening up the third period, Kelley knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Lady Tigers up 19-11.
Two more buckets from Kelley and 3-pointer from Dean had Straughn up 28-21 heading into the final frame.
Daleville came out strong in the final period and scored the first six points to make it a one-point game with four minutes remaining in the contest.
After Straughn stretched the lead back up to three points, Daleville brought it back to one point with 18 seconds left on the clock.
Then Daleville forced a turnover on the inbound pass and Ravine Hallford hit mid-range jumper with four ticks left on the clock to put Daleville up 35-34.
The Lady Tigers drove the court quickly, but just missed on the buzzer-beater attempt.
Dean and Kelley each finished the game with 12 points to pace the Lady Tigers.
“I felt like we played a good tournament,” Lady Tigers head coach Scott Kinsaul said. “I made some mistakes at the end of the game. The girls did exactly what I asked them. I tried to do some stuff that we hadn’t practiced, but that’s what this tournament is for. We are just finding what we need to improve as the season gets started.”
The Lady Tigers earned a spot in Tuesday night’s championship game after edging out Luverne 48-45 in the semifinal battle.
Straughn got the scoring started with a 1-for-2 effort from Sidney Kinsaul at the free-throw line.
Luverne answered back with a bucket from Britney Redmon to take an early 2-1 lead.
Dean then put the Lady Tigers back on top when she buried a 3-pointer from downtown.
Kelley followed with a 3-pointer of her own to put the Lady Tigers up 7-2 with 5:22 left in the opening period.
Scoring went cold for Straughn for the next four minutes until Kelley hit a free throw to put the Lady Tigers up 8-4 with 1:12 left in the first period.
Dean then got a steal that she turned into a fast break layup.
With time winding out in the opening frame, Kelley drew a foul and went to the line for the Lady Tigers. After missing the first free throw, Kelley was forced to the bench with a nose bleed. Torie Hicks came on in Kelley’s place and hit the final throw to put the Lady Tigers up 11-4 with 19 seconds left in the opening frame.
Dean got a steal as Luverne tried to push the ball up the court and she fired to Kinsaul, sprinting to the basket for an easy layup to put Straughn up 13-4 after one period of play.
Vaniyah Williams got Luverne on the board first in the second period with a fade-away jumper, but then quick buckets from Straughn’s Chelsi Brooks and Colby Adams pushed the lead back to double digits.
Williams answered back with a 3-pointer to leave Luverne trailing 17-9.
Luverne then got three free throws from Jayla June and Cassity Johnson to cut the Straughn lead down to 17-12 with 4:40 left before halftime.
The Lady Tigers answered back with a big 3-pointer from Dean to push the Straughn lead back up to eight.
The lead increased to double digits again when Hicks hit a jump shot.
Dean then hit both ends of a 1-and-1 opportunity to put Straughn up 24-12 with 1:28 left in the second period.
Luverne then got back-to-back 3-pointers Williams, but still trailed Straughn 24-17 at halftime.
Luverne came out firing in the third period and quickly trimmed Straughn’s lead down to 27-26.
Kelley then got a bucket off an assist from Caroline Wood to put the Lady Tigers up 29-26.
Redmon got an offense rebound for Luverne and put it back up for two points to trim Straughn’s lead down to one.
Williams then connected on a 3-pointer to put Luverne up 31-29 with three minutes left in the third period.
Straughn continued to fight and a strong drive and layup from Dean tied the game at 31-31 heading into the final period.
Dean started off the fourth period with a 3-pointer to give the Lady Tigers a 34-31 lead.
A few moments later, Kelley hit a jump shot that gave the Lady Tigers a 36-31 advantage.
Luverne battled back to tie the game 36-36.
The tie didn’t hold for long as Adams buried a 3-pointer to put Straughn up 39-36.
Kelley then dropped in a layup off an assist from Dean to give the Lady Tigers a 41-36 lead.
Luverne continued to battle and tied the game 45-45 with 28 seconds left on the clock.
Straughn never looked phased as Kelley drove in the lane for layup to put the Lady Tigers up 47-45 with 15 seconds left in the game.
The Lady Tigers forced a turnover and Kinsaul was immediately fouled as she gained possession of the ball.
Kinsaul hit one free throw to help push the Lady Tigers to a 48-45 victory.