By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
Coming off arguably one of their best performances of the season last Friday night in a 25-point beatdown over Rockcastle County, the Southwestern Lady Warriors rode that momentum into The PC Gym on Saturday afternoon, to face another regional contender - the Danville Lady Admirals -in the annual Cancer Awareness Classic.
And, Tim Rice's club came away with a hard-fought victory, but it certainly didn't come easy or without some adversity.
Destiny Molden and Brittany Combs each made three-point baskets on back to back trips with their club down to the Lady Ads in overtime, helping a resilient Lady Warrior team fight back for a hard-fought, 63-58 victory.
"We knew Danville was the type of team that puts a lot of pressure on the ball, and I thought we did a good job with that today - we only turned the ball over 10 times, I think," stated a very happy coach Rice, after his team improved to 17-9 on the year with the win.
"We stepped up and hit some late shots when we had to hit them, and we kind of lost our heads there in the end, but I will take the blame for that," added the Southwestern coach.
The blame Rice was talking about came at the end of regulation - more about that in a minute.
After trailing Danville 27-23 at the intermission, the Lady Warriors came out in the second half and took advantage of their size under the basket, with Dylana Fothergill and Elizabeth Latham helping lead the charge back for Southwestern.
Fothergill tallied all nine of her points in the second half, while Latham played a solid game inside for Southwestern, scoring 11 points and pulling down seven rebounds.
Thanks to that scoring combo down in the paint, Rice and company went up by as much as six points in the fourth quarter, only to see Danville fight back.
An Essence Grey three-pointer trimmed the Lady Warrior lead down to a single point at 49-48 with 4:43 remaining in regulation.
However, that would be the last field goal Judie Mason's club would make the rest of the way before overtime.
Southwestern meanwhile certainly was not displaying a prolific offensive attack by any stretch coming down the end of the contest.
With the Lady Warriors leading Danvile 51-48, the Lady Ads Kasey Young made a pair of free throws with 3:14 remaining in the contest, cutting the Lady Warrior lead down to one point again at 51-50.
Over that last 3:14, Southwestern would not score a single point, while the Lady Ads would manage a single free throw, knotting things up at 51-51.
Still, the Lady Warriors had a chance to win this one in regulation, and that's when 'the blame-game' talk begins.
Rice called a timeout with :13 left in a 51-51 game, setting up his club's final play.
That play never materialized .
Southwestern inbounded the ball to Destiny Molden, who stood out in front court and dribbled the clock away - no shot, no score, so we go to overtime.
"We did have a play set up, but I don't guess I made myself clear enough, so that's not the players' fault - I'll take the blame for that one," said Rice.
"We got a little confused there, so that one is on me," added the SWHS coach.
With the game tied at 51-51 at the end of regulation, Molden certainly came through for her club when it needed a big-time shot the most.
After a steal and layup by Essence Grey early in overtime that gave Danville a 55-52 lead, the Lady Warriors fought back once again.
Southwestern was on the ropes and needed an answer, and Molden delivered for her club.
Her three-point basket knotted things up at 55-55, and on the next trip down, Brittany Combs' trey put Southwestern out in front for good at 58-55.
With the Lady Warriors leading 58-56 after a Danville free throw, Molden calmly sank both ends of the one and one with :40 left, helping seal a hard-fought 63-58 win for the Lady Warriors.
"We fought back from the adversity we faced, and again, I'll take the blame for the last 13 seconds of regulation," said Rice.
"This was a nice win for us and it gave us our seventh win in a row, so it's nice to be on a good roll heading into the last week of the regular season," stated the Lady Warrior coach. "We have two tough games coming up to close out the regular season next week with Perry County Central and Mercer County, so we feel like that will only help us get more prepared for the post season."
The Lady Warriors will travel to Perry County Central tonight, before returning home on Thursday night to end the regular season with a girl-boy doubleheader at home against Mercer County.
The girl's game will be the first game of the twinbill, and will tipoff at 6:30 p.m.
D - 15 12 14 10 7 - 58
SW - 9 14 22 6 12 - 63
DANVILLE - E. Grey 21, Young 16, L. Grey 10, Walker 6, Leavell 4, Chenault 1.
SOUTHWESTERN - Combs 12, Molden 12, Corder 11, Latham 11, Fothergill 9, Fitzgerald 8.