Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Carlisle toppled in crazy ending

Leader sportswriter

CLARENDON – Despite a career-high of 46 points scored by Lady Bison senior standout Faith Walker, the Carlisle girls lost the 2A-6 District tournament championship game to Brinkley 63-62 on a last-second shot by Lady Tiger leading scorer Lauren Carroll.

Saturday’s showdown was the rubber match between the 2A-6 Conference co-champions, who split their regular-season series, each winning by four points. After three quarters of play Saturday, Carlisle appeared to be on its way to the tournament championship after outplaying the Lady Tigers in the first three quarters.

Carlisle led 17-10 at the end of the first quarter, 36-28 at halftime, and took a 51-41 lead into the fourth quarter. However, things went awry for the Lady Bison in the final eight minutes. Brinkley opened the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run that cut the Lady Bison’s lead to 53-52 with 6:03 remaining.

Walker, who scored all 11 of Carlisle’s points in the final eight minutes, got a much-needed basket for the Lady Bison (18-9) later on, but the Lady Tigers (22-6) cut it back to one on a long jumper by Michayla Washington, which made the score 55-54.

After Washington’s bucket, Carlisle turned the ball over for the 16th time in the second half on the ensuing inbound pass, forcing Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo to call timeout with 2:43 to play.

Following the timeout, Walker got a turnaround bucket inside the paint with 1:31 to play that pushed the Lady Bison’s lead to three, leading 57-54. Walker’s bucket forced Brinkley to call timeout, and after that, the Lady Tigers went on a 6-2 run, grabbing a one-point lead with the score 60-59.

Brinkley’s go-ahead bucket came with less than a minute to play, but Carlisle’s Walker wouldn’t let her team go down without a fight. Walker pushed the ball up the floor and converted a clutch and-1 play with 16.6 seconds on the clock. Walker’s free throw put the Lady Bison back on top 62-60, which put the pressure back on the Lady Tigers.

Carroll, who led Brinkley with 36 points, got the call on the Lady Tigers’ following possession, and was fouled with 8.1 seconds remaining. Carroll calmly sank the first free throw, but missed the second, and Lady Bison post player Morgan Walter got the rebound.

However, when Walter got the rebound she was bumped to the floor and out of bounds by a Brinkley player. No foul was called and the ball went back to the Lady Tigers as a result. On the ensuing inbound pass, Carroll got the ball inside the lane in front of the basket and she put up a short jumper that fell through with less than a second remaining.

Carlisle received the inbound pass with half a second left, and couldn’t get a shot off before time expired.

“I’m proud of their effort,” said Buffalo of his team. “They competed tonight against what I thought were some insurmountable odds. I went into the locker room and told them they still get to play next week. The real season really truly starts next week. There are 32 teams left and after the first round there’ll be 16 and we’ve got to be ready to play.”

Carlisle outrebounded Brinkley 41-36 and had the better shooting percentage. The Lady Bison made 25 of 55 shots for 45 percent. The Lady Tigers made 23 of 76 shots for 30 percent. From the free-throw line, Brinkley made 12 of 30 and from the 3-point line it made 5 of 17.

Conversely, Carlisle made 10 of 14 free-throw attempts and 2 of 8 from beyond the arc. The biggest difference in the game, though, was the turnover margin. The Lady Bison committed 29 in the game, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter. Brinkley had 13 turnovers for the game and just three in the entire second half.

Walker added 14 rebounds to go with her 46 points, giving her a double-double. Fellow senior post player Bre’ana Young finished a rebound shy of a double-double as she had 11 points and nine boards. Kayla Golleher didn’t score, but added 10 rebounds and four assists for Carlisle.

Carlisle is hosting this year’s regional tournament, and the Lady Bison will play Poyen tomorrow night at 7.