Lady Lions rally past Marmaduke into NEA semifinals

Friday, January 2, 2009

Manila advanced to the semifinals of the A-AA-AAA division of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament Saturday afternoon with a hard fought 61-54 victory over Marmaduke.

Lady Lion Kimberly Wise (22) shoots a three pointer in NEA Tournament action Saturday afternoon in Jonesboro. (Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)

Colleen Kemp poured in 22 points to lead the Lady Lions to victory after Manila trailed most of the first half. The Lady Greyhounds, who have only eight players, kept pace with Manila throughout the game, despite their lack of depth.

Marmaduke held a 21-16 lead after the first period, thanks to a 9-10 performance from the free throw line. Chelsea Drope, who led the Lady Greyhounds with 18 points, started the second period with a three pointer, giving Marmaduke a 24-16 advantage. The Lady Lions fought back and pulled to within one on a three point play by Kemp at the 2:34 mark. An inside bucket by Rebekah White gave Manila their first lead of the game, 29-28 with 2:05 left in the half, but Marmaduke came right back, nailing five free throws in the last minute to take a 35-32 edge into the dressing room at the half.

Kemp continued her offensive barrage, scoring Manila's first 10 points of the third quarter. The senior's steal and coast to coast lay-up with 4:20 left gave the Lady Lions a 40-38 lead, but the Greyhounds charged back once more with the aid of back to back treys from Drope to tie the score at 47-47 with 54 seconds left in the quarter. Kimberly Wise gave the Lady Lions a 49-47 lead heading into the final frame with a driving lay-up to close the quarter.

Manila turned up the defensive pressure in the final frame, holding Marmaduke to just seven points. Drope drained a three pointer at the 3:57 mark to give the Lady Greyhounds their last lead of the night, 52-51. Savannah Jones put Manila ahead for good with an offensive stick-back at the 3:35 mark, and Kristen Painter followed with another inside bucket to stretch the Lady Lion lead to 55-52 with 1:15 to go. Rachel Morton's offensive stick-back pulled Marmaduke back to within 57-54 with 24 seconds to go, but Kemp put the game away, sinking four straight free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Manila senior Colleen Kemp (31) drives to the basket while being guarded by Marmaduke's Chelsea Drope (14) in NEA Tournament action Saturday afternoon at Arkansas State University.

Wise joined Kemp in double figures with 13 points, while Painter and White scored nine and eight points respectively. Jones, starting in place of an ailing White, put in seven points, while Katie Donner added two.

"I was worried coming in because Rebekah had been sick all day and missed the shoot around," said Manila Coach Jeff Priest. "I didn't know how much we would get out of her, but she really played well. Coach Hoffman (Spencer) and I are best friends, so I knew he was going to take away my best two scorers, and I was going to do the same thing to him. It was going to come down to the third and fourth players, and Colleen Kemp really stepped up tonight and had a huge game. Kristen Painter hit a big three in the first half and pulled down some important rebounds in the second half to give us a big lift. When Marmaduke took the 52-51 lead we could have folded right there, but our team showed grit and came up with some big buckets and made key free throws to win the game."

Manila won their opening game of the tournament with a 55-44 victory over Black Rock behind Kimberly Wise's 23 points. Colleen Kemp pumped in 14, Rebekah White tallied nine, Katie Donner added five while Savannah Jones contributed one point.

Lady Lion Savannah Jones (42) concentrates as she prepares to shoot a free throw during NEA Tournament action Saturday afternoon.

Black Rock held an 11-9 lead after the first quarter before Manila came back to tie the game 23-23 at the half. The Lady Lions outscored Black Rock 16-6 in the third quarter to take a 39-29 lead into the final frame.

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