BY CORY WOODROOF
Carley Smith said didn’t know she’d be hitting game-winning free throws to get her Lady Lions a first conference win this morning when she woke up.
“I did not,” she said. “Not at all.”
But it was her resolve to overcome a few shots just missed from the line to ice a roller coaster for Christ Presbyterian Academy Tuesday night.
The team defeated the Franklin Road Academy Lady Panthers 49-47 in a game that saw them lead 23-7 at half time and surrender an FRA run of 27-7 in the third quarter.
Smith had just missed a few FT attempts before the deciders and got a bit of a pep talk before the attempt at a timeout.
“I said to her. ‘You’ve got to crush that, because you’ve got to go make the next play,'” head coach Becky LeGate said to her eventual game-winner, who she says had “a great redemption.”
Of course, crush it, Smith did, which gave the team its first district win of 2018.
The game winner said the practice process of making free throws in practice helped her in following through in real-time.
Smith and Carrington Washburn had 15 a piece in the victory, while Libby Long had 11.
For LeGate, the win lends itself to effort and adjustments.
“I think what made the difference was us just not giving up,” LeGate said after the win. “We were the aggressor in the first half, and in the third quarter, [FRA was]…We could’ve easily folded right there.”
Going into the fourth, LeGate said she wanted her team to match the physicality of the play from the Lady Panthers, as well as the in-game fundamental of rebounding, a problem for the home team in the third.
Taking a deep breath going down the stretch and releasing the panic from that role-reversed third also was key for a steadying of the ship, the coach said.
For the Lady Panthers, a strong second-half rally to come back fell short right at the end.
Iris Heldman and Zharia Hutchinson led FRA with 16 and 14, respectively, on the night.
The Lady Lions advance to 5-1 on the year and next face Ezell-Harding Friday, while the Lady Panthers head to 3-3, set for a week-ending tilt against Father Ryan.