LCHS Lady Cougars edge North Pike

Published 11:20 am Wednesday, February 17, 2016

McCOMB – The Lawrence County Lady Cougars kept their season alive Tuesday with a heart-stopping 47-46 victory over the North Pike Lady Jaguars. With Lawrence County down by two points in the waning seconds, junior Haven Johnson made a basket, drew a foul, and made the resulting free throw to provide the winning margin.

With the win, the Lady Cougars evened their record at 14-14 on the season, and advanced to Thursday’s tournament semi-finals, where they will take on South Pike. The win also assures Vicki Rutland’s girls of advancing to the 4A playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.

“That’s a record we’re proud of,” said Rutland, who earned her 300th coaching victory earlier this season. “We really had to fight for it this year – and that’s a credit to the quality of our division. I thought our girls fought so hard tonight. They really came together and battled through adversity.”

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Rutland’s Lady Cougars were without senior stalwart DeNeisha Dickson, who missed the game due to illness. With Dickson out, other Lawrence County players had to step up. Camryn Davis led with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists. Haven Johnson scored 13, including the decisive three points. She also had four rebounds and three steals.

The Lady Cougars got a huge boost from Saadi Garner, who scored seven points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Senior Jada McDuffey, playing with a knee injury that will require surgery, tallied six points and handed out three assists.

Even after Johnson’s heroics put the Lady Cougars ahead by one point, North Pike still had 11 seconds to respond. The LCHS defense prevailed, however, keeping Lawrence County’s long playoff streak alive.

North Pike’s Rachel Thompson was outstanding in defeat, scoring 17 of her game-high 21 points in the second half. JaNiesha McCray added 10 points. The Lady Jaguars, coached by Laura Holman, finished the season at 9-15.

The Lady Cougars will take on South Pike at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The LCHS boys will play the South Pike-Richland winner right after the girls’ games.