ADAIRSVILLE — The Sonoraville Lady Phoenix have been in some relatively close games recently, but not those kind where they absolutely had to make plays in the final couple minutes to squeeze out a hard-fought victory. That’s the kind of game they found themselves in on Friday, and coach Stephanie Caudell has to be proud of how they reacted.
Sonoraville got a fierce challenge on the road at Adairsville as the Lady Tigers battled back from a double-digit deficit to tie the game as late as the 1:41 mark of the fourth quarter. But the Lady Phoenix got a clutch bucket from Maliyah Parks and some huge free throws from Abby Chambers and Harleigh Chastain to send their team to a 52-48 victory to maintain their unbeaten subregion subregion record.
Sonoraville (12-4, 3-0 6-AAA South) led 28-14 at the half as they were stifling on the defensive end in the first two quarters. But Adairsville made a big run in the third, outscoring the Lady Phoenix 25-11 in the period and ending the quarter on a 10-0 run to tie things up at 39-39 going to the final period.
The Lady Phoenix once again built a lead in the fourth at 46-41, but Adairsville (2-15, 0-3) tied things up thanks to a 3-pointer from Havyn Isaac and a couple free throws from Nakiyah Washington with 1:41 to go. However, Sonoraville was the team that dealt the final blow as Parks hit a runner with 1:30 to go and Chambers and Chastain combined to go 4-of-6 at the free throw line down the stretch to seal the four-point win.
“I was really proud of our composure and how we handled ourself in the fourth quarter tonight,” said Caudell. “We were in a tough environment, and Adairsville has some really good players. But our girls stuck with it and made some big plays and big shots down the stretch. I think that finding a way to win a game like this will help us in the long run. It was good to see that every time we had a timeout or a dead ball late in the game, the girls were into it, weren’t distracted and were positive with each other. They were confident that they were going to make the plays, and it was a good win for us.”
Parks finished with 15 points to lead Sonoraville, including five in the fourth quarter. Alexa Geary added 13, and Grace Darnell scored 10. Chambers contributed seven, with three free throws coming in the fourth quarter.
Washington had a game-high 20 points for Adairsville, doing much of her work in the paint.
Isaac got hot in the second half, scoring all 14 of her points during the final two quarters. She hit four 3s in the game. Josie Summerville added eight points.
Sonoraville jumped out to a 13-9 lead after the first quarter but really took control in the second, finishing the period on a 9-1 run to take a 28-14 lead into the half. Adairsville made their run in the third quarter with 25 points, including 11 from Isaac. After Parks’ shot and Chambers’ free throws late in the fourth, the Lady Tigers had one more chance with the ball down three in the waning seconds, but a potential game-tying 3-point attempt came up short, and Chastain clinched the game for Sonoraville with a free throw with less than a second to go.
“I thought Alexa made some big defensive plays for us in the fourth, and Maliyah made the biggest shot of the game,” said Caudell. “That was good for Maliyah because we ask her to do a lot, and she came through for us big tonight again.”
It wasn’t all positive news for Sonoraville in the victory as starter Sandi McMullin left the game with an injury during the second quarter. Caudell said she didn’t know when her senior forward would be back after the game.
Sonoraville is back at home on Tuesday to host rival Calhoun at 6 p.m.
“I tried to stress to the girls that they had to be here mentally and focused on Adairsville tonight, but you can’t help but be excited about our next game, playing Calhoun at home,” said Caudell. “It will be fun and a great atmosphere as always. Hopefully, we’ll have Sandi back and be at full strength, but if not, we’ve got some others that will have to step up into that role. Gracie Fitzwater played some big minutes for us tonight in that spot.”