Lady Lions edge J. Frank White
J. Frank White Academy wasn’t going to make Pineville’s senior night an easy outing for the Lady Lions on Thursday. It was a close battle throughout with the Lady Knights tying the game three times in the fourth quarter.
Pineville grab the lead for good with 2:59 remaining in the game and used a 9-5 run in the final three minutes to send the seniors out with a 55-51 victory.
“It feels great (to pick up this win on senior night). I think that team has won 20 ball games, so they’re a good team,” said Pineville coach Jamie Mills. “We needed that good hard-fought game and the win. Before district you want to get a hard game like that.
“That got us ready for Monday night, so now we just got to learn from this one for what we got to do Monday. We’ve got to play hard defense. You’ve got to play with your feet and not with a lot of reaching.”
Seniors Jill Enix, Sarah Combs and Makenzie Fuson put together decent outings on a night where they were honored. Enix finished with a game-high 20 points on 10-of-24 shooting. She registered a double-double after hauling in 18 rebounds. She also led the team in assists with four.
Sarah Combs ended the night with seven points, four rebounds, two steals and an assist. Fuson tallied eight points on 3-of-11 shooting along with eight rebounds and three assists.
“These seniors have been great. I’ve had them for four years. We’ve had three (winning seasons) in a row with this bunch,” said Mills about the seniors. “They’ve helped build a winning program. In four years, they’ve had 72 wins. That’s nice. It’s all due to them and the work they put into it. It paid off for them.”
J. Frank was paced by the efforts of Abigail Garner and Beraya Piercy. Garner tallied 18 points on seven field goals while also going 4-for-5 from the charity stripe. Piercy tallied 17 points on eight shots from the field.
The Lady Knights held a 25-20 lead with 1:40 remaining in the half. After a Presley Cole layup, Raigan King hit two free throws to cut the deficit to five, 27-22. Two Cole layups around a Combs 3-pointer gave J. Frank a 31-25 lead heading into halftime.
The Lady Lions fought back and grabbed the lead midway through the third quarter. After trading shots with the Lady Knights, Pineville used a 9-0 run to grab a three-point lead. Fuson capped the stint with a layup that gave the Lady Lions a 36-33 lead with about three minutes to go in the third.
A Beraya Piercy basket ended the run and cut the lead to one. A layup from Enix and free throws from King increased the lead to 40-35 before Kinsee Lefevers ended the quarter with a layup that cut J. Frank’s deficit to 40-37.
The Lady Knights tied the game at 42-42 midway through the fourth after a pair of free throws from Garner and a floater by Beraya Piercy. After an Enix layup, Piercy tied the game at 44-44 on another floater.
Enix return the lead to Pineville with a basket, while a 3-pointer by Whitney Caldwell shifted momentum fully in the Lady Lions’ favor and gave the team a 53-46 lead. Two free throws from King with 44.2 seconds remaining gave Pineville a nine-point advantage, 55-46.
The Lady Knights made a valiant effort down the stretch with a basket and a 3-pointer by Beraya Piercy cutting the final deficit to four.
Pineville (17-10) opens the 51st District Tournament with a 7:30 p.m. game on Monday against Lynn Camp (11-15) at Knox Central.
Pineville 55, J. Frank White Academy 51
Sarah Combs 2 2-6 7, Jill Enix 10 0-1 20, Raigan King 2 9-11 13, Makenzie Fuson 3 2-2 8, Whintey Caldwell 1 0-0 3, Virginia Hall 1 0-0 3, Madison Ford 0 1-2 1. Totals: 19 14-22 55.
Beraya Piercy 8 0-1 17, Presley Cole 3 0-0 6, Kyla Piercy 1 0-0 2, Kinsee Lefevers 3 2-3 8, Abigail Garner 7 4-5 18. Totals: 22 6-9 51.
Pineville 14 11 15 15 — 55
JFWA 10 21 6 14 — 51
3-point goals: Pineville 3 (Combs 1, Caldwell 1, Hall 1), JFWA 1 (B. Piercy 1).
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN