Last second baskets lift CC over Appomattox 66-63
Two baskets in the final seconds from guard Shana Braxton enabled Charles City’s Lady Panthers to overcome Appomattox Regional Governors School’s Dragons 66-63 in a Tri-Rivers District basketball thriller.
The host Lady Panthers trailed by three with 25 seconds left in the Jan. 15 game and their leading scorer, Jolisa Williams, on the bench after fouling out. But Braxton, playing with four fouls, took over in the final seconds after Amanda Adkins cut the Dragon lead to one at 63-62 on a close range shot with 15 seconds to go.
Following a Charles City time out, the hosts’ defense stripped the ball in backcourt as the Lady Panther press overwhelmed the Dragons. Braxton came up with the loose ball, fired in the go-ahead basket, and was fouled on the play with 5.2 seconds left. She missed the free throw, but grabbed another loose ball during the rebound battle and tossed in a shot at the buzzer for the final margin.
“Shana’s head had not been in the game,” said Charles City coach Andre Jones concerning his number two scorer who had spent most of the second half on the bench in foul trouble.
“She only played the final 5.2 seconds, but I thanked her for playing those 5.2 seconds,” Jones said.
Foul problems plagued the Lady Panthers and played an integral role in Appomattox overcoming a 20-point Lady Panther lead in the first half. The visitors shot double bonus free throws in both halves, stepping to the foul stripe 32 times on the night. Luckily for the hosts, the Dragons missed 15 of those attempts.
Then the hosts had to contend with Dragon center Roslyn Presley who caught fire in the second half, pouring in 23 of her game-high 35 points. Presley went 11-for-19 at the foul line, mostly in the second half.
Charles City, meanwhile, turned in a solid first half except for the foul trouble. Just over five minutes into the game, the hosts held a 19-4 lead. The advantage grew to 20 in the second quarter, reaching 34-14 nearing the period’s midpoint.
But Appomattox whittled away at the margin, closing the gap to 14 as Charles City owned a 36-22 lead at the half. Then Presley scored 10 points of a 13-0 run to open the third quarter to get the Dragons back in the game. Charles City’s lead shrank to 36-33 in under four minutes.
“I praised our players for that first half, but we knew they were not that bad of a team,” Jones said. “Then they got started in the second half and I thought oh, oh, here we go.”
Williams, who led Charles City with 31 points, stopped the Appomattox surge with a drive and lay-in after running down a long rebound in the Dragon offensive end of the floor. Shana Brown’s basket after an Appomattox miss followed by baskets from Williams and Brown off Dragon turnovers put the hosts back in command. Fouled on her second basket, Brown completed a three-point play to put Charles City up 45-33.
The hosts held a 49-38 lead heading into the final period, but an 11-2 Dragon run to start the quarter pulled the visitors back within two. Charles City managed to hold off the Dragons until Presley’s short jumper with 2:14 to go knotted the game at 55-55.
From there, Appomattox built a 59-55 lead, but Charles City regrouped, forging a 60-60 deadlock on Williams’ three with 1:22 left. Free throws from Presley and Tiane Scott, all on double bonus situations created a 63-60 Dragon lead, setting the stage for the thrilling climax.
“We learned to play without Jolisa,” Jones said. “We pulled together and sucked it up tonight. Our chemistry is clicking.”
Brown finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the victors, now 4-0 in the district and 10-3 overall. Braxton and Joy Wynn tossed in eight points apiece while Amanda Adkins and Stormie Adkins both scored four.
In addition to her 35 points, Presley yanked down 17 rebounds.