Strong 4th period sends Pine to the quarters

Published 8:36 am Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pine’s playoff run continued Monday with a 59-54 victory over Riverside Academy, as the Lady Raiders had a solid fourth quarter to pull off the victory in the regional round of the Class 2A state playoffs at Pine.

Sixth-seeded Pine led 34-29 at halftime, but Riverside had begun to pick up some momentum, finishing the half on a 6-0 run.

Kennedy White, who scored 17 points, split from the free-throw line, but Riverside grabbed the offensive board and Dannecia Nora put hit a bucket to make it 34-26.

Ja’Keyra Gautreaux, who posted 15, knocked down a three with just three seconds remaining to make it 34-29 at the break.

The spurt continued into the second half, as the 11th-seeded Lady Rebels, who were down by as many as 13 in the first half, added six more to the run to start the second half.

Gautreaux split from the line before White drove in for two. White made two trips to the line, combining to knock down three of the four free throws and Riverside was up 35-34 with 4:41 left.

The contest was back and forth for the rest of the period.

Pine’s Kaylee Turnage, who had 10, broke a 42-42 tie by hitting with 4.1 seconds remaining in the third by hitting a shot and getting fouled. She missed the free throw but the Lady Raiders were in front, 44-42, as the game went to the final quarter.

Pine’s Ny Ny Robertson, who put up six points, made it a four-point game at the outset of the period with a layup, but Riverside scored five unanswered to go back in front. White hit two free throws with seven minutes left to trim it to two. Jessica Cline gave the Lady Rebels the lead, 47-46, when she knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:47 to go.

But Pine responded.

The Lady Raiders’ defense took over, holding Riverside without a point for the next 4:58.

Offensively, Pine was spreading the floor, which gave its leading scorer Breyanna Brown some good opportunities.

“We look for those opportunities whenever we can spread the floor and let her drive in and make big plays for us,” Pine coach Lynell Pope said.

She made them pay off and took over on the offensive end.

Brown scored 11 of her 33 points in the fourth period.

“We took the lead at 47-46. We tried to go to a halfcourt trap when she got the ball to trap her and try to make her give it up, but she’s really a good player and was able to get out of it,” Riverside coach Kathy Luke said. “She scored and we missed an easy transition bucket down here, and she went down again and scored I think. She’s a good player, and they responded every time we pushed them to the limit. It was a great atmosphere. It was a great game.”

After Riverside took the 47-46 advantage, the Lady Raiders scored the next 11 points, all by Brown.

“We were a little nervous at first but all I had to do was tell them to calm down and we were going to take it from there, and I went out there and did what I had to do,” Brown said.

Riverside ended the scoring drought on a 3-pointer by Gautreaux with 49 seconds to go. Riverside trimmed the lead to six at 57-51 but was unable to get any closer, as Pine advanced to the quarterfinal round to play third-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas on the road Thursday at 6 p.m.

The win put the Lady Raiders at 24-7.

Morgan Thomas posted six points for Pine while Laken Breedlove added four in the win.

Riverside closes the season with a 21-8 mark.

Nora finished with 13 points while Briley Becker logged six and Cline posted three for the Lady Rebels.