SUMMIT In crunch time, East Carter will stick to the game plan.
Get the ball to Alyssa Stickler.
In the waning moments of overtime on Saturday night, the outlet pass found the sure hands of the junior guard.
She took a few dribbles and drained a short jumper before the final buzzer to lift the Lady Raiders to a 78-76 road win in overtime over Boyd County.
Coach Jeff Damron sees this outcome as a possible turnaround game for his team after a few close calls this season.
“Hopefully, this is the direction we want to go at the right time of the season,” Damron said. “They need to understand the reason they played the way they did, the shots that we made and the energy that we played with. We need to harness that and understand what it takes to play that good. ... When you start making shots, everything is a lot easier and everybody’s confidence is a lot better.”
East Carter shot 56% from the field and connected on seven triples. The Lady Lions had trouble finding the range early and hit 12 of their 40 attempts from beyond the arc.
“We’ve got to be better,” Boyd County coach Pete Fraley said. “ We have got to understand that when we are not hitting them, we have got to go the basket a little more. That’s probably on me. I’m going to have to get them to drive more and not take so many 3s, unless we are hitting them. If we are hitting them, we are good. East Carter did a great job. You have to tip your hat to them.”
Harley Paynter and Bailey Rucker connected on triples early in the third quarter to turn a 32-24 halftime deficit for Boyd County into a three-point lead midway through the frame.
The Lady Raiders withstood the spurt and made three straight baskets. The next four minutes produced six lead changes and East Carter started the final stanza of regulation with a one-point advantage.
“If you can handle their pressure, because they are really good at what they do, you are going to a good look on the back side,” Damron said. “We handled it today. It’s about playing with confidence and believing that you can play with these teams. Now, can we get to that position on a consistent basis. It’s still a challenge for us.”
Boyd County (13-8) stretched the margin to seven on two occasions then eight midway through the final quarter on Isabella Caldwell’s 3-pointer.
The Lady Raiders held their ground. Stickler swished a trey and Haley Campbell drove it down the lane for a layup to pull East Carter within two with seconds remaining in the fourth stanza.
“We didn’t guard very well down the stretch,” Fraley said. “We gave up too many drives to the basket. We left them open for some 3s there. And credit to them, they made them.”
Halle Swanagan, seeing her first action after recovering from a concussion early this season, picked the pocket of a Boyd County player and returned it to the other end for a game-tying layup that sent the game to overtime.
“We probably played her more extended minutes than we wanted to, but I told our assistants to keep an eye on her,” Damron said. “She brings that kind of energy. She’s that other person when people start taking away Alyssa. She is probably our best shooter from 3-point range. She can spread the defense out and we can work Jascie (Greene) and our bigs inside. And if we can shoot this well from the outside, it opens the inside.”
They teams traded free throws in the extra frame. Leandra Curnutte netted a 3 to tie the contest once again at 76-76 before Stickler produced the game-winner.
Paynter recorded a game-high 36 points and hit seven from downtown. Rucker added 18.
Stickler had 24 for East Carter (14-8). Campbell finished with 20. Swanagan and Avery Hall each had 10.
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E. CARTER FG FT REB TP
Stickler 9-15 3-5 7 24
Bush 0-2 0-2 2 0
Greene 4-8 0-0 10 8
Campbell 7-11 3-6 4 20
Gamsby 2-4 0-0 0 4
Waggoner 1-1 0-2 1 2
Swanagan 3-6 3-4 4 10
Steele 0-0 0-0 0 0
Marcum 0-0 0-0 0 0
Hall 2-3 6-6 1 10
Tussey 0-0 0-0 3 0
TOTALS 28-50 15-25 36 78
FG Pct: 56.0. FT Pct: 60.0. 3-point FGs: 7-14 (Stickler 3-4, Bush 0-1, Campbell 3-4, Gamsby 0-1, Swanagan 1-4) PF: 19. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 17.
BOYD CO. FG FT REB TP
Rucker 4-14 7-8 4 18
Opell 2-9 0-0 0 4
Paynter 10-21 9-10 8 36
Biggs 2-8 2-2 5 6
Borders 0-4 0-2 9 0
Curnutte 1-3 0-0 0 3
Caldwell 2-5 2-2 1 7
Parsons 1-3 0-0 6 2
TOTALS 22-67 20-24 34 76
FG Pct: 32.8. FT Pct: 83.3. 3-point FGs: 12-40 (Rucker 3-8, Opell 0-5, Paynter 7-12, Biggs 0-4, Borders 0-2, Cornette 1-3, Caldwell 1-5, Parsons 0-1) PF: 19. Fouled out: Opell. Turnovers: 13.
E. CARTER 15 17 18 17 11 — 78
BOYD CO. 17 7 25 18 9 — 76
Officials—P.R. Stevens, Bill Renzi, Laine Stephens.