With its two leading scorers in second-half foul trouble, the Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats pulled together and gutted out a 73-66 victory over the Lady Ambassadors of Oakwood University in Friday afternoon's first game of the 2018 Lady Bobcat Holiday Bash at the Rossville Athletic Center.
Georgia Northwestern (3-6) enjoyed as much as a 10-point lead in the early stages of the first quarter. However, the visitors from Huntsville, Ala. would score the last nine points of the first quarter and the two teams would go into the locker room knotted up at 36 apiece.
Sophomore Tori Harvey, who had 14 points in the first half, picked up her fourth foul around the midpoint of the third quarter and was relegated to the bench, while freshman Abby Dalton, who had 13 in the first half, also had to take a seat after picking up her third foul with 2:36 to go in the third quarter.
But their teammates were there to help pick up the slack. Sophomore Mia Clark and freshman Gracen Hobbs both hit key 3-pointers, sophomore Hannah Carr sunk two clutch free throws and freshman Destiny Willbanks pulled down a couple of big defensive rebounds as the Lady Bobcats took a 52-48 lead into the fourth quarter.
Hobbs would come up big from behind the arc at the start of the fourth quarter as she hit two threes in the first 2:15 of the period to extend the Lady Bobcats' lead to 61-53 and Clark banked in a 3-pointer at the 4:51 mark to keep the lead at eight points.
Dalton would connect on a nice drive to the hoop through traffic with 2:57 to play to give the Lady Bobcats their biggest second-half lead, 71-62. It would turn out to be the final basket of the night for the home team, but solid defense on the opposite end of the floor would make up for some erratic play on the offensive end down the stretch.
Willbanks and Jerriale Jackson would both grab a big defensive rebound late, while Clark and Dalton both connected on free throws in the final 1:01 to seal the victory.
Fresh off a 30-point outing against the Covenant College JV squad earlier in the week, Dalton scored a game-high 27 points. Harvey finished with 16 points, despite fouling out with 4:01 to play, and Hobbs stepped up with 12 points to go with seven rebounds.
Clark had eight points, while Jackson had seven points and a team-best 16 boards. The two third-quarter free throws accounted for both points for Carr, while one free throw from Katelyn O'Toole rounded out the scoring.
Doroteya Jackson and Ty Rogers each had 17 points for the Lady Ambassadors, who won the rebounding battle, 65-61. However, Oakwood was held to 24 percent shooting for the game.
Georgia Northwestern will now play in the championship game on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. against either Trinity Baptist College (Fla.) or Southeastern Baptist College (Miss.).