SPORTS >> Lady Falcons stay in playoff race
Leader sports writer
The North Pulaski Lady Falcons continued their mid-season conference winning streak Friday night with a 64-59 win over the White Hall Lady Bull-dogs. After leading the opening quarter, the Lady Falcons fell behind to White Hall by as much as eight points towards the end of the third.
With a strong rally in the final period, the Lady Falcons reclaimed the lead with less than five minutes left in the game.
They held the momentum for the remainder to take their third straight AAAA-Southeast conference win.
“We played at a slower pace until about the start of the fourth quarter,” Lady Falcons coach Katrina Mimms said. “That’s the pace we need to play at all the time. We do a lot better when we just react and don’t have to think.”
North Pulaski looked solid in the first frame, building a 6-2 lead by the 4:56 mark. Two straight baskets from White Hall quickly tied things up 43 seconds later.
The first quarter resulted in a 12-12 tie, with the Lady Bulldogs leading the entire second quarter until a bucket from sophomore guard Neyshia Ridgeway for North Pulaski tied the score at the half at 26-26.
The Lady Falcons also led the opening minutes of the second half, but White Hall quickly rallied to re- gain the lead with a three pointer from junior Ashley Bogy with 4:25 left in the third quarter. Bogy’s three put the Lady Bulldogs up 34-31.
Bogy hit another three-point shot, followed by an inside jumper to give White Hall a 39-31 lead one minute later. By the end of the quarter, the Lady Bulldogs had built up a 44-36 lead, and seemed to have control of the game’s momentum.
White Hall’s control of the contest slipped away quickly in the fourth, as senior Keyshia Ridgeway stole the ball for an easy lay up for the Lady Falcons. Marie Livings followed that up with a basket that narrowed White Halls’ lead to 44-40. White Hall immediately called a time out, and seemed to have thwarted a North Pulaski rally when play resumed.
With 6:14 left in the game, the Lady Bulldogs went back up by six, 49-43 off a pair of free throws from Bogy. White Hall had enjoyed controlling the game’s tempo for the majority of three periods, but the final six minutes would belong to the Lady Falcons.
A pair of free throws by Tish Howell, followed by another steal and lay in from Keyshia Ridgeway cut the lead to 49-47 at the 5:07 mark. Another time out from White Hall did nothing to cool off North Pulaski this time, however. Two more foul shots from Howell tied the score after play resumed.
After a missed NP shot, Jakki Brewer came away with the rebound for White Hall, but got picked clean by Neyshia Ridgeway who put it right back up and in to give the Lady Falcons their first lead of the game since the first minute of the half.
Brewer tied things back up for the Lady Bulldogs with two free throws. Howell then crushed all hope for White Hall in a matter of 14 seconds.
Howell nailed a three-point shot from the left side with 4:38 left, and came right back to the exact same spot with 4:24 left to swish another three to put North Pulaski ahead 57-51.
Howell would also put away two free throws down the stretch to help the Lady Falcons secure the win. Any type of momentum change, that’s what basketball is all about,” Mimms said.
“They had it at the beginning, coming into the fourth, and then we made that run and it shifted our way. We just hung on to it.”
Howell led the Lady Falcons with 17 points in the game, followed by Keyshia Ridgeway with 15. Jalecia Batemon also finished in double-digits with 12 points for North Pulaski, and Livings added 10.
Kianna Pollard led all scorers for White Hall with 24 points in the game.
The win improves North Pulaski’s conference record to 4-3, and gives them a two-game cushion in fourth place in the AAAA-Southeast standings.
The Falcons lost their contest with White Hall 84-65. North Pulaski trailed 47-24 at halftime, but rallied to within 11 points in the third quarter.
The Falcons did not keep the momentum for long, however, as the Bulldogs re-took control of the game on their way to the 19-point victory.
Quinn Cooper led North Pulaski in the game with 26 points, followed by Roderick Rainey and Mike Anorue who both finished with eight points.
North Pulaski faced Mills at home on Tuesday after Leader deadlines.