SOUTH WEBSTER — Some empty possessions early, and unfortunately some more late, eventually did in the South Webster Lady Jeeps’ comeback bid.
After trailing at halftime by a dozen points to visiting South Point, the Lady Jeeps charged back and seized an early fourth-quarter advantage — but only scored two points in the final six minutes and 13 seconds en route to falling 50-44 in a non-league tilt on Friday night.
The loss left the Lady Jeeps at an even 5-5, while South Point picked up a victory to improve to 4-6.
Once again, South Webster was within striking distance of its opponent all throughout, which has defined the Lady Jeeps’ up-and-down season thus far.
The Lady Jeeps have played your typical .500 basketball, both in-game and as evidenced by the .500 overall record.
Friday’s foray against the Lady Pointers proved that point, as the Lady Jeeps struggled and fell behind in the first half — only to outscore South Point 16-4 in the third period before being doubled up 12-6 in the last.
After trailing all throughout, and overcoming turnovers and offensive struggles, the Lady Jeeps finally pulled even at 38-38 at the end of the third quarter — thanks to Baylee Cox’s three-point goal in the final five seconds.
Another trifecta — from Bri Claxon this time — gave the Lady Jeeps the lead at 41-38 just 45 seconds into the fourth.
However, after Cox converted a free throw at the 6:13 mark to make it 42-41, the Lady Jeeps’ only other points were a tough Claxon baseline jumper with just 15 seconds remaining.
As SWHS coach Ryan Dutiel said, the roller-coaster contest concluded with a bumpy end of the ride.
“We made a few adjustments at halftime, and they seemed to work out in the second half for us. We battled back, went into the fourth quarter tied up, and that’s where we wanted to be. We felt like if we were tied there, we could go bucket-for-bucket, and just turn it into a one-possession-at-a-time game. We had a couple of turnovers and empty possessions in the fourth quarter. You can’t have those dead spots, especially in the fourth quarter, where you are not getting points,” he said. “Every possession has to come away with foul shots or a bucket. Especially late in the game to put people away. We had a couple of empty possessions which ended up being the difference in the game.”
South Point, spearheaded by Emilee Whitt’s top-of-the-key three-pointer for the 41-41 tie, outscored South Webster 12-3 over the final 6:35.
Whitt went off for eight fourth-period points, including the driving go-ahead basket at the 5:11 mark — which put the Pointers ahead for good at 43-42 and followed a Lady Jeep miss.
Another Emilee for South Point, Emilee Carey, canned a three-pointer from the wing at the 3:52 juncture — making it 46-42 as South Webster wasn’t within four the rest of the way.
In fact, in the final 1:40, the Lady Pointers primarily held the ball, spread the floor and forced the Lady Jeeps to foul — as South Point put in 4-of-7 free throws in the last minute and 10 seconds, including 3-of-4 from Whitt which made it 49-42.
The Lady Pointers, on several possessions playing with the lead, put the Jeeps on the full defensive run with the half-court spread.
South Point posted 11-of-16 from the free-throw line, paced by Whitt with 5-of-6 and Sarah Roach with 4-of-5, while Cox attempted all four of the Lady Jeeps’ freebies.
“We played within six of them, and we played right there with them, especially in the second half. It says a lot because they are a quality team. We got kind of tired at the end, they spread you out and they do a lot of dribble-drive,” said Dutiel.
While the Lady Pointers played primarily keep-away late, they fired from three-ball range and got in the passing lanes early.
South Point pumped in seven triples, including five in the opening half — towards leads of 19-10 at the end of the first quarter and 34-22 at halftime.
Whitt with a pair — and Carey, Maddy Khounlavong and Diamond Crawley with one apiece — accounted for South Point’s first-half threes.
Whitt — with five total field goals — poured in 18 points to pace the Lady Pointers, as Carey and Khounlavong tallied 10 points apiece.
Khounlavong landed all 10 of hers in the first 16 minutes, while Roach recorded two first-frame field goals towards eight points.
“South Point has some really nice players, and they all shoot the ball extremely well. I told the girls that they were going to shoot a ton of threes, and they are very good at it. We have to make them work for everything they get. We have to get a hand in their face, and make them put it on the floor. When you have the shooters they have, you have to be aware where Carey, Khounlavong and Whitt are at at all times,” said Dutiel. “Defensively, their hands are extremely quick. You can’t underestimate how quick they are. They are constantly in the passing lanes, getting their hands on everything.”
The Lady Pointers did just that in the first half and fourth quarter, but South Webster — behind four first-half field goals from Claxon and Faith Maloney and three from Rose Stephens — was still within reach entering the third.
Maloney made three more deuces and Claxon two, along with a trey at the 5:05 mark, to get the Lady Jeeps to within 38-35 — before Cox connected on her three for the 38-38 tie.
Claxon collected a game-high 20 points on nine total field goals, as Maloney mustered 14 markers on seven baskets.
Dutiel said, as the yearly calendar turned to January with the basketball calendar turning to the second half of the 22-game season, filling up on empty possessions is at the top of the resolutions’ list.
South Webster will return home, and return to Southern Ohio Conference Division II action, on Thursday night against Portsmouth West.
“We’ve been in every game all year so far,” said the coach. “Our focus for the second part of the year is to minimize turnovers and start eliminating those empty possessions and see where that takes us.”
* * *
South Point 19 15 4 12— 50
S. Webster 10 12 16 6— 44
SOUTH POINT 50 (4-6)
Emilee Whitt 5 5-6 18, Sarah Roach 2 4-5 8, Maddy Khounlavong 4 1-3 10, Emilee Carey 4 0-0 10, Sydney Markel 0 0-0 0, Diamond Crawley 1 1-2 4, Kimmie Stanley 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 16 11-16 50; Three-point goals: 7 (Emilee Whitt 3, Emilee Carey 2, Maddy Khounlavong and Diamond Crawley 1 apiece)
SOUTH WEBSTER 44 (5-5)
Faith Maloney 7-0 14, Liz Shupert 0 0-0 0, Kenzie Hornikel 0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Blanton 0 0-0 0, Rose Stephens 3 0-0 6, Baylee Cox 1 1-4 4, Bri Claxon 9 0-0 20; TOTALS 20 1-4 44; Three-point goals: 3 (Bri Claxon 2, Baylee Cox 1)
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved