Town Crier Sports Staff
Manila battled hard for three quarters against the state's third ranked team, but in the end the Lady Warriors of East Poinsett County wore down the Lady Lions to post a 65-38 victory Monday night at Lepanto.
EPC, who was celebrating senior night, looked as though they would run away with the game in the first quarter as they built a 15-3 lead. Back to back treys by Cara Pilgrim and Jordan Madden gave the Lady Warriors a 12 point cushion late in the first period, but the Lady Lions fought back, scoring the quarter's final four points to pull within 15-7 entering the second stanza.
The two teams battled on even terms in the second quarter before Madden sank a five foot bank shot late in the period to give EPC a 10 point lead, 24-14. The Lady Lions battled back again with a bucket by sophomore Kristen Painter and a free throw by junior Kimberly Wise to close the gap to 24-17 at the half.
Manila began chipping away at the Lady Warrior lead in the third quarter, thanks to a bucket by Painter and a three point play from Colleen Kemp at the 6:14 mark that closed the EPC lead to 28-22. A pair of free throws by Kemp and a lay-up by Wise cut the EPC lead to 28-26 with 5:15 remaining in the quarter, and the Lady Lions had a chance to grab the lead on their next possession, but failed to connect as the Lady Warriors went on a 9-2 run to close the quarter, taking a 39-28 advantage into the final frame.
EPC blew the game open in the fourth quarter, outscoring Manila 26-10 to pull away for the win.
"I was very proud of our kids tonight," said Manila Coach Jeff Priest. "We got behind early 15-3 and called time out. I told the girls to just be patient and calm down and we would get back in the game. We had a chance to take the lead in the third quarter, but just couldn't get the shot to fall. EPC showed why they are the third ranked team in the state tonight. They are just so talented. We have lost several close games recently, but we are playing hard and I think by district tournament time we will have a chance to get to regionals," concluded Priest.
Wise led Manila with 14 points while Kemp also hit double digits with 12.
Rebekah White scored six, Painter added four while Jonna Dodd added two to round out the Lady Lion attack. Manila hit just 1-12 from three point range and finished 26 percent from the field.
Jordan Madden led all scorers with 20 points for EPC. Becca Ross also scored in double digits with 13 while senior LaPorscha Williams and sophomore Carla Kemp added nine points apiece. EPC's other senior, Cara Pilgrim, finished with six points while Jocelyn Joplin netted four and Kelli Saddler added three.
In junior high action, EPC rolled to a 54-10 victory over Manila behind Brittany Ball's 12 points.
Peyton Joyner led Manila with five points while Brittany Craine and Courtney Craine scored three and two points respectively.
Manila will return to action Thursday night when they play host to Earle in non-conference action.