- Last Updated on 08:20 AM 12/09/13
- BY Joe Chandler
As tears dotted the eyes of some Halifax County High School players, jubilant William Campbell High School students cheered as they hoisted Kenisha Staten onto their shoulders.
Staten scored a game-high 28 points, but more importantly, canned seven of eight free throw attempts and reeled in two key rebounds in the last minute and 14 seconds of overtime to help give the Lady Generals a 58-56 win over the Comets Friday night at William Campbell High School.
“It was fun to watch,” remarked William Campbell High School Head Coach Jackie Bolling after his team’s first win of the season.
“She carried the team. She’s the engine that makes us go.”
The Comets led 14-1 after the first four and a half minutes of the game, led by 12 points going into the final minute of the first half and led 26-17 at halftime.
All appeared well with the Comets, but things didn’t stay that way.
Unable to make free throws when they were needed, the Comets had 18 misses from the charity stripe in the game. Untimely turnovers and an inability to rebound and make shots when they were most needed also proved to be a part of the Comets’ undoing.
Halifax County came up empty on three attempted shots during their first possession in the four-minute overtime period, and William Campbell kept the ball alive on the boards to get off four shot attempts before Staten was fouled and canned two free throws with 1:14 left to put the Lady Generals in the lead to stay.
When it was over, the Comets’ Lakia Martin had a team-high 16 points, Brittani Boxley had tallied 14 points and Janiyah Logan had chipped in 13 points. It wasn’t enough.
“We let this one get away,” Murray said.
“We missed too many free throws, missed too many rebound opportunities and we do turn the ball over a little too much.
“I’m not blaming anybody else,” Murray added.
“I’ll take the blame. I’ve got to get them prepared. That’s my job.”
Murray started running reserves into the lineup in the first half after the Comets took the big lead. After the starters went back to the floor to start the second half, they didn’t appear to be as much in synch as they were in the first half.
The Comets led by 12 points after Logan made one of two free throws with 3:36 left in the third quarter. Murray started subbing again, and the Comets hit a scoring drought that lasted for just over five minutes.
By the time Martin brought the drought by hitting one of two free throw attempts with 6:28 left in regulation, William Campbell had clawed its way back into contention and had taken the Comets’ momentum away.
The Lady Generals tied the game on a 3-pointer from Erika Peerman with 53 seconds left. Halifax County answered with a basket from Brittani Boxley with 23 seconds left in regulation to regain the lead.
But, Kirstin Smith stole an inbounds pass from the Comets a couple of plays later and hit two free throws after being fouled with 7.9 seconds left to deadlock the game and force the overtime stanza.
At the end, the Lady Generals prevailed, despite the fact that the Comets twice had a three-point lead, the last time with 2:15 left in overtime.
“Maybe I let some subs play a little longer than I should have,” Murray admitted.
“But, we’ve got to learn how to play. We’ve got to learn how to finish. It was an opportunity for us to learn how to win.”
Bolling praised the Comets for their effort in gaining the big early edge.
“Halifax did a really good job of switching in and out of defenses and confused us,” he pointed out.
“They gave us different looks and we kind of got out of rhythm and turned the ball over. I credit Halifax for that. They played a really good ballgame.”
Bolling said he felt the bottom line was his girls wanted the game more.
“It just seemed like they had the fire, the desire,” Bolling remarked.
“I think they wanted it more, and it showed.”