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Coming through in the clutch
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Rachel Johnson’s jumper from the baseline with 10.2 seconds to play Monday night proved to be the difference as the Dibrell Lady Wildcats downed the Eastside Lady Bulldogs 22-21.
In a bid to start the elementary girls 7-8 grade season with two straight wins, Dibrell needed nearly every second of Monday’s game against the visiting Lady Bulldogs to seal its second victory.
Johnson’s short shot, which was step up by Bailey Barrett’s cross-court pass, gave Dibrell a 22-19 lead and completed a fourth-quarter comeback for the Lady Wildcats.
Eastside had a chance to send the game to overtime, but the Lady Bulldogs had a communication breakdown to end the game.
Coach Leanne Morrison called a time-out to set up a play in attempt to free Jayden Smith for a tying 3-pointer, but the Dibrell defense patrolled the outside line tenaciously.
Seeing the stingy Lady Wildcats holding their ground, Smith cut to the baseline where Rylan Moore hit her with a pass.
Smith hit a layup at the buzzer, but the two points left Eastside one point short as the Lady Bulldogs fell to 0-2 this season.
Eastside led 16-12 when the fourth quarter started, but two free throws from Allie Winkler and a bank shot by Johnson knotted the score at 16.
Dibrell took its first lead of the final quarter with 3:10 to play when Sianna Womack powered up on the low block for a layup. Ali Wrisner added a jumper with 1:22 remaining to help the Lady Wildcats lead 20-16.
Eastside was frantic in the final minute with its press to try to get back in the game. The full-court defense caused havoc as Moore had a steal to set up a layup for Smith with 47.7 seconds left.
Another turnover gave the Lady Bulldogs a chance to tie late. Moore tried the tying shot from the left elbow, but was fouled on her attempt.
Moore went to the line needing to make both shots to tie, but she missed the first and made the second.
Dibrell only needed to run the clock out to win, but Barrett spotted Johnson under the basket for a short shot to put the Lady Wildcats up three. It proved to be a pivotal insurance basket as Eastside’s final shot at the buzzer was a moot point.
Womack led the Lady Wildcats with eight points Monday, followed by Johnson with six, Winkler with four and Barrett and Wrisner with two points each.
Smith had a game-high 10 points for the Lady Bulldogs. Madison Parsley was next with five, while Moore, Ali Hollandsworth and Terra Smith had two points apiece.
In other girls elementary action, the Boyd Lady Broncos improved to 2-0 with a 42-16 victory over Centertown.
Rhiannon Hoover and Morgan Deweese led the Lady Broncos with 10 points apiece, while Ashley Kiefer scored eight and MacKenzie Pistole added seven. Anna Bain chipped in three and Allie Shaye Kuykendall and Kaylin Barrett scored two points each.
Alli Howard led Centertown with five points, followed by Hope Valenta with four, Emilie Blankenship with three and  Katelyn Cooper and Hannah Wright with two points apiece.
The Irving College Lady Tigers also won Monday, beating the Morrison Lady Eagles 29-25 to force a three-way tie atop the elementary girls standings.
Callie Cathcart and Jordan Bess each finished in double figures for the Lady Tigers improved to 2-0. Cathcart led Irving College with 12 points while Bess was right behind with 11. Rounding out the scoring for the Lady Tigers was Cassidy Wanamaker with four and Caylie Sherrell with two.
Brooke Murphy led Morrison with eight points, followed by Skylar Youngblood with six and Tevan Holder with five. Katelyn Smith and Addyson Crouch finished with three points apiece.