Lady Bobcats Make Third Regional Championship in Four Seasons
The Giles County High School girls’ basketball team earned both a trip to the regional championship and the team’s third appearance in sectionals in four seasons Monday, overcoming Creek Wood in overtime, 36-35.
The Lady Bobcats (23-9) met the Lady Red Hawks (22-9) for the third time in four seasons in the Region 6-AA Tournament, this time playing an elimination contest with the season on the line. GCHS is now 2-2 in those four meetings with the victory and has now won a combined 82 games in the last four seasons with a chance to clinch its first region championship Wednesday in the title game against Christ Presbyterian Academy.
Monday’s game was a tightly contested defensive stalemate for much of the contest as neither team extended the lead beyond five points for the duration of the game. GCHS trailed by five points at the end of the first quarter before 3-point baskets by Taylor McNairy and Jayla White gave their team a brief lead. Creek Wood pulled back ahead 15-14 at the half.
The two teams traded the lead for much of the final two quarters of regulation before a Reagan Hohl 3-point basket with 34 seconds left gave the Lady Red Hawks a 29-27 edge. On the other end of the court, Jensen Harper connected on a basket through the foul, and McNairy collected the offensive rebound on the missed free throw to force Creek Wood to throw a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer as the game extended to overtime tied at 29-29.
McNairy’s lay in with a minute remaining in the overtime period gave her team the lead, and a key defensive stop forced Creek Wood to foul. Mary Katlyn Bruce knocked down both free throws to extend her team’s lead to three points only to see Taylor Moore promptly deliver her only basket of the night on the following possession, a shot from long range to tie the game.
Creek Wood made a critical mistake on the ensuing inbound play, fouling McNairy and sending the senior to the line with only nine seconds remaining in a tie game. The guard hit 1-of-2 free throws, and Harper pulled down potentially the most critical offensive rebound of her career thus far. Erin Freeman evaded the defense nearly 10 seconds to close out the win.
Freeman and Harper tied for a game-high with 10 points apiece. McNairy scored eight. White added a pair of 3-point baskets, and Bruce chipped in two points.
For Creek Wood, Hohl led her team with 10 points. Sam Kilian scored eight. Lydia Edmundson and Elayna Gass added seven points each, and Moore finished with three.
The Lady Bobcats will meet the Lady Lions of CPA for the fourth time this season Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Creek Wood High School. The two teams are each other’s most common opponent over the stretch, playing 14 times in four years with CPA holding a 10-3 advantage thus far. The winner of Wednesday’s game will earn the right to host a game in sectionals, while the loser will be forced to travel to a higher seed.