Pippa Passes: Alice Lloyd Lady Eagle’s veteran Coach John Mills saw 4 players reach double figures as his young squad upset the KIAC’s second place team, the Brescia University Lady Bearcats, by a score of 78-77.
Brescia traveled to Pippa Passes on Wednesday looking to earn the season sweep as they had won earlier this season by 38 points over ALC. What they got, however, was a spirted effort from a club determined to even the score.
In the opening quarter, the game was nip and tuck. ALC took a 21-19 lead after an old fashioned three point play by freshman Whitney Evans with 3:03 remaining. However, Brescia guard Jaylen Houston scored 7 consecutive points to lead a run by her club and the Bearcats led 31-25 after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter, the hosts picked up the intensity on defense as they slowed down the high scoring Brescia club. On the offensive end, Lady Eagle sophomore Sara Robinson and freshmen India Hairston-James and Andrea Rankin provided a huge spark as the three ladies accounted for all of the team’s points, outscoring the Bearcats 20-11 to give their squad a 45-42 lead at intermission.
Early in the third quarter, back to back three point bombs from ALC guards Tailor Morgan and Amber Shepherd would propel the home squad to their largest lead of the night at 51-42. Unfortunately, behind the play of the conference’s leading scorer, Julie Whitfill, the visitors would fight back and trim the score to 62-61 at quarter end.
In the final stanza, both teams played with desire as neither wanted to lose the game. The clubs traded goals until a Whitfill bomb gave BU a five point lead at 71-66. With 3:33 remaining, Alice Lloyd still trailed 73-68 and appeared ripe to drop another heart-breaking decision.
However, much to the delight of the home fans, the Lady Eagles fought back. First, sophomore Taylor Arthur was fouled at 2:16 and sank 1-2 free throws. After grabbing the rebound on the second miss, leading scorer Shepherd drained a jumper and the score was 73-71.
On the next possession, the Lady Eagles forced a turn-over. Then with 1:13 showing, Hairston-James calmly drained a 22 foot bomb from the right wing to put the hosts ahead 74-73 as the crowd went wild.
Hairston-James then gave the fans more to cheer about as she stole the ball and fed Shepherd who was fouled with .29 showing. The 77% free throw shooter swished both tosses and the score stood 76-73.
The Lady Bearcats found Whitfill for the potential game-tying three point attempt, but the typically clutch performer missed. On the scramble, the ball ended up in the hands of Alice Lloyd’s Morgan who was quickly fouled and drained both tosses; this ended a 10-0 run from the home team and left them up 78-73 with 12 ticks showing.
Brescia was not ready to concede, however. First, Whitfill would hit a drive to reduce the deficit to three (78-75). Next, things got concerning when BU guard Catherine Dunn stole the inbounds pass with 5 seconds left. Rather than shoot the game tying three, Dunn drove and sank a 10 foot runner in the paint to set the score 78-77. With just 1 second remaining, ALC only had to toss the ball inbounds successfully to run out the clock, which they did.
For Alice Lloyd (8-12; 3-7 KIAC), Hairston-James led the way with 17 points. She was followed by Shepherd with 16. Morgan played a solid game and contributed 12 points, while Robinson chipped in with 10 points and a game high 9 rebounds. Arthur would add 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks while Rankin provided a big lift with 7 points and 5 boards. Evans added 3 points while Megan Jones and Bailey O’Brian each netted a bucket for 2 points. Jones led both clubs with 5 assists.
Brescia (13-12; 8-4 KIAC) was led by Whitfill with a game high 27 points.