ALBANY — With a little under four minutes to go in the third quarter, Lee County head coach Fran McPherson called a timeout to settle her players, after falling behind by 17 points.
The move proved to be effective – at least for the moment – as the Lady Trojans stormed back in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to three points.
They would get no closer, however, as Herald No. 2 Americus-Sumter held on to beat Lee County, 57-48, Saturday night at Darton College one night after suffering just its second loss of the season against Herald No. 4 Dougherty, 68-47.
The Lady Panthers (13-2) were led by Kayla Bowens, who had 16 points. Kahler Fletcher scored 15 points and A’Dashiah Mercer added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“The key for us was getting the ball inside to our big players and running our plays (effectively),” said Ashley Howard, who had nine points and three assists. “We also set good picks and played great defense.”
Leading 11-7 in the second quarter, Americus-Sumter went on an 8-0 run and led by 10 points at the break. The Lady Panthers, playing with more energy and motivation, began the second half looking to capitalize off Lee County’s lethargy.
A 12-6 run quickly ensued and suddenly Lee County (6-7) was down big.
“We took our time, ran our offense and got good looks at the basket,” Americus-Sumter head coach Evelyn Wright said. “They moved very well on defense (Saturday) night. We saw them going through the motions, and I told my girls they have to pick it up.”
DaQueena Moore had a team-high 14 points for Lee, while teammates Brandi Blount and Briana Scott scored 10 and seven points, respectively.
PELHAM SPLITS WITH LANIER: The Pelham Lady Hornets won their 14th game in a row Saturday, routing Lanier, 71-28, behind 16 points from Octavia Kierce. Hillary Williams added 15 for Pelham (14-1, 11-0 in Region 1-A), while Briunna Freeman and Tembreanna Hudson added 12 each.
The Pelham boys, however, weren’t as lucky, falling, 57-48, to Lanier — one of the state’s best Class A teams, ranked No. 2 in the AP poll — behind 13 points from Steve Mango and 10 from Roger Williams.
Pelham is now set for a big Region 1-A duel Tuesday at Miller County.
Bainbridge boys 66, Cairo 43: The Herald No. 5 Bearcats improved to 9-4 overall after a rout of their neighboring rivals Saturday.
Rodney Glenn scored 12 points — 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter — while Trey Kelly led with 15 points and Paul Chukes added 14.
Bainbridge next plays Monday at the Tri City MLK Shootout in Tallahassee.
Miller girls 46, Early 36: The Lady Pirates, behind a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds from Mallory Diamond, pulled off a stunner Saturday against Early County, which came into the game with just two losses. Miller improved to 6-6 overall and 4-3 in region play as Ulbrikia Daniels added 11 points in the win, while Tynicia McCoy led the Lady Bobcats with 19 and Justice Lee added 14.
The win sets up a big showdown Tuesday in Colquitt against Pelham, which is unbeaten in region play and winners of 14 straight.
“It’s a big one,” Miller County Nate George said of high-scoring Pelham, which hammered Lanier by 43 points Saturday. “We’re going to try to put a stop to that.”
Baker girls 49, Worth 46: The Lady Bears (2-11) won for just the second time this season behind a season-high 28 points, 12 rebounds and three steals from Cierra Hawkins. Brittany Ware also had a big game with eight points, five steals and six rebounds, while Shanna Tucker led Worth with 10 points.
Baker returns to action Tuesday at Seminole County.
BAINBRIDGE GIRLS 46, CAIRO 42: Ri’Chana Jackson scored 12 points to lead the Lady Bearcats past Cairo on Saturday.
Bainbridge, which was down 20-13 at halftime before making a second-half comeback, improved to 9-5 and has now won six of its last seven games.
Also for the Lady Bearcats, Briana Wade and Alex Carter each scored nine, and Diamond Bouie and Takeia Crankfield each scored eight.