Lady Gators fall to South Effingham 40-35

Lady Gators fall to South Effingham 40-35

Story compliments of Patrick Donahue

It had been a quiet night for South Effingham junior center Shae Leverett. But her three-point play late in the game was an emphatic statement. Leverett's three-point play off a putback with 2:54 to play gave the Lady Mustangs the lead for good, and they held on for a 40-35 win Wednesday night over Ware County.

The win sets up a third matchup with Effingham County on Thursday night — and put the Lady Mustangs in the Class AAAAA state basketball playoffs. "That is the biggest relief, first-year South Effingham coach Missy Roddenberry said of earning a state playoff berth. "That is what we've been working for. The girls have been wanting to get to state. This was a huge game, knowing that's what it was going to do for us.

The Lady Mustangs trailed 30-28 when Leverett got an offensive rebound. She was denied once, twice and again on putback attempts before finally getting a shot to fall. She was fouled on the play, and her successful free throw put the Lady Mustangs in front. "I think I jumped about five feet off the ground, Roddenberry said. "Everybody felt the momentum. Leverett was held to eight points but her final three of the night were her biggest, and she credited her teammates for helping her get the rebounds. "I had to work for it, she said. "Everybody was helping me rebound, boxing out. The whole team had to jump in and help.

After the tallest of the Lady Mustangs put South Effingham in the lead, the guards took over. Faith Harris and Dionna Hartfield had consecutive layups, and they helped ice the win, hitting four free throws in the final minute. "Once they start driving, the whole team seems to pick up the speed, Roddenberry said. "When they get on a roll, the whole team goes with them. Hartfield's layup off Harris' shot block keyed a 7-0 run in the second quarter. Alissa Epling capped it with a 3-pointer, giving South Effingham a 16-14 lead. In the last 1:16 of the first half, the Lady Gators unleashed a 3-point barrage. Chyna Bacon hit consecutive 3s, and Bryanna Wilson's last-second heave went in for a 23-16 halftime lead. The halftime deficit, and Bacon's hot shooting, didn't dismay the Lady Mustangs. "We knew we're a second-half team, Leverett said. "We have good guards. Their guards couldn't handle Dionna and Faith. The Lady Gators hit just one 3 in the second half, coming on Lamari Harris' 30-foot shot with 15 seconds left. South Effingham also held Ware County to three second-half field goals and none in the third quarter. "She got on fire, Roddenberry said of Bacon, "so we knew in the second half we had to get out on the shooters. In the first half, it was mostly the big girls. Daejha White, a 5-foot-10 senior, and 5-11 freshman Shondell Vickers constantly hounded Leverett in the paint, frustrating the Lady Mustangs' attempts to get the ball inside to their leading scorer. "It's tough when they have two people close to her height, Roddenberry said, "and then they double-down on her, so it's hard to get her the ball. And when we did get her the ball, she's got four arms blocking her instead of two. Hartfield scored six straight points in the third quarter to tie the game at 23-23. A

fter the Lady Gators missed two straight front-ends of one-and-ones, Epling scored on a follow-up to tie the game at 28-28. Vickers grabbed an offensive rebound on the weakside and scored 20 seconds later. But 20 seconds after that, Leverett came up with her big play. "Once I made it, Dionna and Faith started making their shots and driving in and getting fouled and making free throws, Leverett said.

Vickers led the Lady Gators (9-15) with 10 points. White had eight points, Bacon finished with six, Wilson added five, Harris scored four, and Blake Crews added two points. Hartfield led all scorers with 15 points. Harris and Epling each scored seven, and Katie Wright had three points. 

 

#

Roster

PTS

2P%

3P%

FT%

FG%

eFG%

TS%

3

Jesada Smith

0

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

4

Lamari Harris

4

.000

.333

.500

.125

.188

.225

5

Nozi Butler

0

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

10

Kennedy Sanders

0

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

11

Blake Crews

0

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

20

Daejha White

8

.333

.000

.000

.333

.333

.322

21

Bryanna Wilson

7

.000

.167

.500

.167

.250

.368

22

Chyna Bacon

6

.000

.500

.000

.500

.750

.750

23

Lizzie Shubert

0

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

24

Rodniqua Davis

0

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

.000

30

Shondell Vickers

10

.500

.000

.000

.500

.500

.500

Team Totals

35

.310

.286

.455

.302

.349

.366

 

 

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