Cedartown pulled it out.
Coach Gambrell’s girls took blow after blow but continued to come back in Friday’s tournament game. With their 50-49 overtime victory over Bowdon, they advance to the Hilburn-Patterson Haralson County Invitational Tournament Championship Game.
Both squads took early leads in the matchup. Bowdon raced ahead before Cedartown led 7-6. This would be the Lady Bulldogs’ last lead in the first half. The Lady Red Devils held a 12-7 advantage through one period.
In the second, what stuck out was Bowdon’s ability to slow down the pace of the game. Coach Jan Fendley evidently received the scouting report in time because she took Cedartown’s strength- their speed and athleticism- out of the game in the first half. Through two periods, Bowdon led 22-15.
Following the midway break, Cedartown still struggled to stretch the court and find easy baskets. Just as the Lady Bulldogs cut it to a one-possession ballgame, the Lady Red Devils went on another scoring run. Bowdon outscored Cedartown 13-12 in the third interval to hold a 35-27 lead going into the fourth.
Bowdon’s offense kept their foot on the accelerated in the final period. The Lady Red Devils extended their lead to 10 points with under four minutes left to play.
That is when Cedartown came alive.
The Lady Bulldogs slowly but surely began their comeback in the second half of the fourth quarter. Cedartown- led by Qiana Watson’s seven points- drew within three points with 10 seconds left.
After a missed free throw by Bowdon, Cedartown received the in-bounds pass and scorched down the floor. Keke Turner found a wide open Kam Cochran on the left wing. The freshman drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
Bowdon showed no signs of a hangover early in the extra period. The Lady Red Devils took a four-point lead midway through the first overtime, but Cedartown once again came back. Big shots by Turner and Watson gave the Lady Bulldogs a 48-47 advantage with under 30 seconds left.
After a tipped pass, Keke Turner accidentally bumped into Bowdon’s Trista Gay just in front of the scorers table at Haralson County High School. This contact drew a foul on Turner and, since both teams were in the double-bonus, sent the junior Lady Red Devil to the free-throw line for two shots. Right on cue, Gay hit both to give Bowdon a 49-48 lead with 8 seconds to play.
Keke Turner, one of Cedartown’s star juniors, received the in-bounds pass again. The point guard slipped through the full court press and sprinted to the lane. Turner fought through contact and put up an awkward, falling-back layup. The shot was a prayer, and it was answered.
As the ball fell through the net, Coach Gambrell and his Lady Bulldogs ran onto the court to celebrate the game-winning shot with Keke Turner. The shot, shades of Qiana Watson’s game winning layup versus Cartersville a year ago, gave Cedartown a miraculous come-from-behind victory.
Watson led Cedartown (4-2) in scoring with 19 points and 5 rebounds. Turner finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds while Zoe Diamond Paisley recorded 6 points and 11 rebounds. Kamryn Frazier scored 6 points and grabbed 5 rebounds whereas Kam Cochran tallied 5 points and 5 boards. Sophomore forward Marycille Brumby finished with 3 points and 6 rebounds as well.
The leading scorer for Bowdon (9-4) was Dasia Wyatt who finished with 16 points. Tanesha Kirk- who fouled out late in the fourth period- added 12 points. Trista Gay scored 9 points while Nautica Johnson tallied 7 off the bench. Sariah Anderson recorded 5 points for Coach Fendley’s Lady Red Devils.
With the win, Cedartown advances to the Championship Game of the 44th Annual Hilburn-Patterson Haralson County Invitational Tournament. The Lady Bulldogs will play the winner of Saturday’s Haralson County-Spring Garden (AL) matchup in the tourney title.
Tip-off for that contest is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday from Haralson County High School in Tallapoosa. For those unable to make the short drive south, they can tune into the Cedartown broadcast on WGAA Radio (106.1 FM, AM 1340, and WGAARadio.com).
See the January 8 edition to learn more about how the Lady Bulldogs fared in the tournament after press time on Monday.