ROSSVILLE - The LaFayette Lady Ramblers made a big run in each half on Tuesday night, but still had to hang on for dear life to secure a 41-35 win at Ridgeland.
LaFayette (11-12, 2-6) led by 14 points midway through the second quarter and again at the end of the third quarter, but the gritty Lady Panthers (2-18, 0-8) were able to whittle the Lady Ramblers' lead down to four to make things very interesting late in the game.
"Ridgeland never quits, and that's what we told our girls at halftime," LaFayette head coach Matt Swanson said. "It doesn't matter how far ahead you get on them, they are going to keep scrapping and battling. But we did a lot of things well and we executed well tonight."
Ridgeland scored the game's first five points, but LaFayette answered with a 19-0 run that spanned nearly a 10-minute chunk of the first half. They hit four three-pointers during the run, including three by Tava Young.
However the Lady Panthers got threes of their own by Taylor Hodges and Ally Johnson to highlight an 8-2 run over the final 3:08 of the half, and Ridgeland would go into the locker room down by just six points, 21-15.
A Tiffany Wimpy bucket to start the second half sliced the lead down to four, but LaFayette would counter with a 12-0 run as they took their biggest lead of the game, 33-17, at the midway point of the third quarter.
Down 36-22 to start the final eight minutes, Ridgeland found its rhtyhm as a 10-0 run again chopped the gap to four with 2:27 to play. Two free throws by Young pushed LaFayette's lead back to six, but the Lady Panthers missed on two straight possessions and were forced to foul.
Young and Tori Hunter tacked on 3-of-4 free throws in the final 26 seconds to secure the subregion win.
Young had four of her team's six three-pointers and finished with a game-high 18 points. Hunter added eight points and six boards, while Jessica Ingram had six points and four steals.
"We had some girls really step up inside for us," Swanson added. "Hannah O'Shields and Christina Hannah came up big for us, and Hunter played a great game all around."
Hodges and Wimpy had 10 points each for Ridgeland. Katy Phillips finished with nine points and seven rebounds, while Destiny Irvin grabbed nine rebounds in the loss.
"Usually when we get behind by a lot early, we have a tendency to hang our heads," Ridgeland head coach Matt King explained. "We're still very young, but I liked the way we came back and fought. We just have to understand that the possessions in the first quarter are just as important as the ones in the fourth quarter."
LaFayette will host Dalton Friday night at 7 p.m., while Ridgeland will be back at home for a 7 p.m. date against Heritage.