William Blount sandwiched two strong quarters around two bad ones, with free-throw shooting down the final stretch helping the Lady Governors pull ahead for a 47-34 victory over West on Tuesday evening.
After a strong start and 16-7 lead entering the second quarter, William Blount went cold, with the Lady Rebels forging a 26-26 tie entering the final frame.
Two Blount turnovers and a West bucket briefly put the Lady Governors behind but a strong recovery down the stretch, led by McKenna Myers hitting 9 of 11 free throws, led William Blount (6-8, 3-3 District 4-AAA) to the ultimate 13-point gap.
“We have a drill on free throws every day in practice where if you miss, you have to run,” Myers said. “Stepping up there knowing that the game is on the line, you have to have confidence, go up there and be focused
Myers entered the final period with just six points but the strong performance at the line gave her 15 points to lead all scorers. Madison Kelly and Chloe Russell each added nine points.
West (3-5, 0-4) pressed through most of the game. In the first quarter, William Blount broke through for several easy layups. Ten of the 16 points the Lady Govs scored in the first quarter came off assists including Myers passes feeding Chloe Russell and Julia Combs.
The trapping West defense began to take a toll in the second quarter. William Blount players started missing on several layups and suffered three turnovers in four possessions. West missed several open shots hurting chances to cut further into the lead but cut the gap to 19-15 with Blount managing only three points in the quarter.
William Blount continued to struggle after the break. West tied the score midway through the third period and took a 24-23 lead with three minutes left in the quarter, which finished knotted at 26 apiece.
“I can’t put my finger on anything,” Myers said, when asked about the collapse after the strong start. “I think we just got a little content with how we were playing and got away from what we were doing. Honestly, we just needed to stay with it.”
West took its final lead 28-26 on a bucket inside, but Kelly drove in to tie and Taylor Stout popped a trey. West knotted the score again as Imani Hardin was left unguarded and canned her second 3-pointer of the game, but the Lady Governors defense picked up as the West defenders were charged with several fouls.
Russell scored the final WB field goal with just under three minutes to play, putting the Lady Govs up 36-32. From that point, William Blount’s last 11 points came from the charity stripe to account for the final 47-34 win.
William Blount finished 18 of 26 on free throws. West, led by 10 points from Alexis Porter, finished 10 of 16 from the stripe.
West (4-4, 2-3 District 4-AAA) used balanced scoring. Four Rebels finished in double digits with Will Biven hitting for 20 points and Gabriel Pastrama finishing with 17.
Trailing 19-16 after one period and 34-28 at the break, William Blount (7-10, 2-4) fought back to within one score, 36-34, with two minutes gone in the third quarter but committed five turnovers on its next seven possessions.
Another WB spurt cut a 12-point gap to just five points entering the final quarter.
A sweet mid-air hand-switching layup from Jake England followed by a 3-pointer from Marshall Cooper produced a 50-50 tie with under two minutes played in the fourth, but the Governors then turned the ball over three of the next four possessions to allow the Rebels to again pull away and hold on.
“We were uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball tonight,” William Blount assistant coach Jeremy Macejewski said. “We were still able to hang in there, because our kids are fighters and they believe in each other. We had a lot of turnovers at times when we needed to take care of the ball.”
Caleb Lingenfelter scored six of his team-leading 16 points in the fourth quarter. Marshall Cooper and Trey Clemmons each finished with 12 points.
Governor head coach Kevin Windle returns to the bench on Friday when William Blount visits county rival Heritage, after serving a two-game suspension from being ejected for technical fouls against Bearden last week.