Staying the course: Lady Govs rally to drop Bearden
By Grant Ramey | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While Bearden was staying at arm’s length Tuesday night at William Blount, the Lady Govs kept hanging around and sticking with the program — and it paid off.
Haley Talbott led William Blount (4-5, 1-0 District 4-AAA) with a game-high 23 points and led the Lady Govs to a 56-49 come-from-behind win to open district play against Bearden.
“It was just staying the course,” William Blount coach Todd Wright said of his team’s play down the stretch, where it turned a 5-point deficit late in the third quarter into a 7-point win.
“The game was tight the whole way. I don’t know that anybody ever got a double-digit lead, I think it was close both ways.”
Bearden led 45-40 in the early stages of the fourth quarter, but Talbott hit one of her six 3-pointers in the game to cut the lead down to two.
Kristin McGill later knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game at 47-all and, after a Bearden turnover, Talbott netted another 3-ball to give William Blount a lead it wouldn’t give up at 50-47 with four minutes left.
Samantha Henry added two more free throws with two minutes left in the game and McGill added a bucket after another Bearden turnover for 53-47 lead.
“Our kids just kept fighting and battling,” Wright said. “I think their shooters kind of got tired towards the end. We challenged some shots, and it’s hard to make shots that are challenged.”
William Blount outscored Bearden 28-17 in the second half, including an 18-8 advantage in the fourth quarter.
Lexus Norwood led Bearden with 17 points.
William Blount led 20-14 in the second quarter behind five straight points from Hartline, but Bearden rallied to lead 32-27 at the half.
“It’s a huge confidence builder for this group,” Wright said. “We’ve had game that haven’t went our ways this year. And to get one that’s finally close like that and go our way, I think it’s big for them, that we can build on it.
“Our district is so tough, you’ve got to come to play every single night, whether it’s at home or on the road.”
Up next for the Lady Govs is their undefeated cross-county rival, Heritage.
“We’ll enjoy this one tonight, but we’ll start thinking about Heritage — I’ll start thinking about Heritage on my way home — the girls will start thinking about Heritage tomorrow.”
Bearden 67, WB 55
The WB boys rallied to take the lead late in their game against Bearden, but that’s where the rally stopped.
WB’s Reed Daniels hit a jumper from the right wing to take a 50-49 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Govs’ first advantage of the game, but Bearden answered by finishing the game on a 17-4 run.
“We got the lead with about 3:30 left in the game and had four possessions where we don’t score right there and they go down and make free throws,” WB coach Kevin Windle said. “That’s a big turn around.”
A Joel Graham free throw gave the Govs’ a 51-49 lead after the Daniels jumper.
“This whole district is tough, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing,” Windle said. “I was proud of my guys tonight. We scrapped, we completed and we gave ourselves a chance to win the game.”
William Blount (3-3, 0-1) was led by Jaden Bailey’s 20 points and Cody Mathis with 16.
Bearden’s Sam Greene led all scorers with 28.
“We’re playing unselfish basketball, we’re playing good team ball,” Windle said. “We scrapped, and we believe that we can win. And that’s one thing that I’m very proud of this team. They will compete to the end, every minute.”