Saginaw, Boswell — It was a back-and-forth bout between the Italy Lady Gladiators and the Era Lady Hornets for the first three periods of play Wednesday night in Saginaw. With a bi-district title on the line, both teams were in it to win it.
Coaches Melissa Fullmer and Tina Richards had their ladies united and hungry and finished the first-period tied with Era, 10-10. Kortnie Johnson accounted eight of Italy’s opening points and dished inside to teammate Cory Chance who banked in 2-points more.
Era mad a run in the second but Johnson scored a basket and Jaclynn Lewis split a pair of free-throws to keep Italy in the fight before sitting down with foul trouble. While senior guard Kendra Copeland was busy trying to get Italy’s half-court offense on track, the Lady Hornets were finding success at the other end to take a 22-13 into the halftime break.
The Lady Gladiators turned up the defensive pressure in the third. Italy swarmed the Lady Hornets with Johnson and Tara Wallis causing turnovers to help spark fast break opportunities while Chance, Taleyia Wilson and Bernice Hailey challenged Era shooters and collected rebounds.
With Era out of sorts, Italy exploded offensively, managing to tie the game up once again, at 31-all. A pair of free-throws gave Era back the lead at 33-31 but Chance laid back behind the arc and swished in a 3-point dagger to sting the Lady Hornets. Chance’s first 3-pointer of the season gave Italy a 34-31 lead with 0:37 left in the period.
To Era’s credit, they crashed the offensive boards to draw a shooting foul. Era split the ensuing free-throws to tie the game, yet again, 34-34. After a missed shot by Italy, Era missed a shot attempt at the other end. The Lady Hornets did, however, manage to create a turnover off Italy’s outlet pass attempt which resulted in an open bank shot to beat the buzzer. Despite a 21-point output by Italy in the period, Era had reclaimed the lead, 36-34.
Johnson accounted ten of the 21-points and Chance scored 7-points. Lewis swished in two free-throws as did Wilson.
After expending so much of their energy to comeback from a 9-point deficit, the Lady Gladiators struggled to regain any momentum in the fourth. The Lady Hornets took advantage and began to pull away as the minutes ticked down. Despite 6-points more from Johnson and Wallis putting in 2-out of-3 free-throws, Era led 50-42 with 2:02 remaining. Neither side would score another point and that’s how the season came to a close for the Lady Gladiators.
Johnson finished the game with a game high 26-points and was a perfect 6-6 from the line. Chance totaled 9-points, Lewis finished with 3-points and both Wilson and Wallis scored 2-points each.
Pre-game captains for the Lady Gladiators were seniors Bernice Hailey, Kendra Copeland and Ryisha Copeland. We thank our seniors for their efforts and for representing the old gold and white with class whenever they cladded their jerseys! The Lady Gladiators finished in 3rd place within their district, made the playoffs for the second consecutive season and were bi-district finalists for their 2013-2014 campaign.
Special thanks to the Lady Gladiator fans that made the trip to Saginaw!
Italy Game Roster/Scoring vs. Era:
|Lady Gladiator||Jersey #||Free-Throws||3-pointer||Total Points|