Cavewomen outslug Lady Lions 55-44 in overtime

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cave City outscored Manila 11-1 in overtime, propelling the Cavewomen to a 55-45 victory in the semifinals of the A-AA-AAA division of the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament Monday afternoon in Jonesboro.

Manila point guard Colleen Kemp stretches to pass the ball to Savannah Jones in NEA Tournament semifinal action in Jonesboro.

The two teams battled to a 44-44 draw as regulation expired, but it was Cave City who found a way to score in overtime to secure the win. The Cavewomen scored the first eight points of overtime before Manila's Kimberly Wise tallied Manila's only point of the extra period, hitting 1-2 free throws with 1:09 left to pull the Lady Lions to within 52-45.

Seven of Cave City's 11 points came from the foul line in the overtime. Jessica Hall sank 5-6 free throws in the final 1:17, pushing the Cavewomen into the tournament finals where Cave City came away with a 46-40 victory over Rivercrest to claim the championship. Cheyenne Childers opened the overtime period, sinking both ends of a one and one, and followed with a pair of inside buckets, giving the Cavewomen a 50-44 lead at the 1:50 mark. Hall's two free throws with 1:17 to go capped off the 8-0 Cave City run.

Manila jumped to a 14-12 first quarter lead and extended their advantage to 33-28 by the half. The Lady Lions were deadly from the foul line in the first half, sinking 14-16 foul shots, including a 10-12 performance in the second period alone. Wise and Rebekah White combined for 26 of Manila's 33 first half points. Wise pumped in 15 while White scored all 11 of her points in the first half.

Cave City roared back in the third period, holding Manila to only one point, and took a 41-34 lead into the final frame. Manila's only point of the third quarter came on a Wise free throw with just 18 seconds left in the period. Haley Bell scored nine of Cave City's 13 third quarter points to lead the comeback.

Bell's free throw gave the Cavewomen their biggest lead of the night, 42-34, to open the final frame, but Manila wasn't finished. Kristen Painter started an 8-0 Lady Lion run with a five-foot bank shot at the 7:09 mark. Wise connected on four straight free throws before tying the game 42-42 with 4:56 left.

Manila's Kristen Painter in NEA Tournament action against Cave City.

Bell missed the front end of a one and one with 4:33 remaining, but the Lady Lions turned the ball over a minute later, giving the ball back to the Cavewomen. Cave City committed a turnover of their own when Bell was called for a charge with 2:35 to go. The Lady Lions suffered a second turnover on their next possession, and the Cavewomen took advantage when Childers stuck in an offensive rebound, giving Cave City a 44-42 lead with 1:18 left in the game. Manila turned the ball over for the third straight time at the 1:05 mark and was forced to foul, sending Hall to the foul line with 31 seconds left. Hall misfired on the front end of the one and one.Wise grabbed the rebound and drove the length of the floor, tying the game with a driving lay-up with 24 seconds to play. The Cavewomen had one last shot to win in regulation, but Brooklyn Brinkley's three pointer at the buzzer was off the mark, sending the game into overtime.

"I thought the turning point of the game was the third quarter," said Lion coach Jeff Priest. "Cave City just came out and turned the pressure up and we just couldn't score or get even get our shots off. I thought we gave up too many offensive rebounds and had way too many turnovers. But all in all I was very proud of the kids for not quitting after that bad third quarter. No one gave us a chance to win this game, and we came very close. Cave City has a real good team."

Childers topped Cave City with 23 points while Bell finished the night with 13 points.

Lady Lion Kimberly Wise tries to shoot for two of her game high 25 points while being heavily guarded by two Cavewomen in NEA Tournament semifinal action.

Wise led all scorers with 25 points while White added 11 more. Colleen Kemp finished with six points for Manila while Painter and Tiffany Pentecost added two and one point respectively.

Wise and Kemp were both named to the NEA Tournament team.

Manila will return to action Thursday night, traveling to Harrisburg to take on the Lady Hornets in 3A-3 conference play.

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