Italy Coliseum — Italy freshman harp shooter Emmy Cunningham led the Lady Gladiators with 32-points, including 4 three-pointers, in their final district home game against Dallas Gateway on Tuesday. Cunningham also went 8-of-11 from the line while senior teammate Kortnei Johnson put in 20-points during Italy’s 2015 Senior Night celebration.
Taleyia Wilson had a strong fourth-period with 4-points on the inside which is where teammates Cory Chance and Janae Robertson did their damage by also scoring 4-points each to help Italy outlast Gateway by a score of 64-57.
The Lady Gladiators had already secured the Region II District I-2A Championship coming into the game and now need one more district win over Itasca to make it an undefeated district title.
Chance put Italy on the board first at 2-0 but Gateway soon led 3-2. The Lady Gladiators then built a substantial first-half lead only to see Gateway battle back to reclaim the lead 27-26 with 0:00 left on the clock. But hold everything!
Cunningham had launched a three-point try from half court before the buzzer and was fouled on the miss. Cunningham sank all three free-throws to give Italy the half-time advantage 29-27, stealing back the momentum from Gateway.
Chance and Lillie Perry each blocked a shot in the first half and Wilson and Robertson where contributing on the boards. Freshman guard Brycelen Richards was reliable with her dribble in relief of Cunningham and also earned a trip to the foul line.
Italy distanced themselves by twelve in the third, 43-31, after a pair of free-throws from Johnson. A steal by senior Alex Minton aided in keeping the Gateway Lady Gators temporarily shutdown. Wilson set a strong and timely screen for Cunningham who dropped a three-ball with 0:05 remaining in the period. Italy took a 49-39 lead into the fourth.
At the 7:05 mark of the final period, after she already scored a put-back off an offensive rebound, Cunningham again swished a three-pointer to keep Italy’s lead at twelve, 54-42.
Italy held a 61-50 lead with 3:00 left in the contest but Gateway kept battling to close the gap 62-57 with a free-throw from Robertson giving the Lady Gladiators 5-point edge. Periodical scoring droughts for Italy in both halves enabled Gateway to stay within reach.
An offensive rebound by Perry, who found Robertson open in the lane, ended the comeback hopes of Gateway when Robertson made the shot in traffic with 0:04 remaining. Robertson’s basket made the final score 64-57 in favor of the Lady Gladiators.
Congratulations to Lady Gladiator seniors K’Breona Davis, Tara Wallis, Kortnei Johnson and Alex Minton and their teammates and to head coach Melissa Fullmer and assistant coaches Tina Richards and Nicole Tindol, who wrapped up Senior Night with gift boxes full of memories. This season’s seniors helped lead the Lady Gladiators to a District Championship and an automatic Bi-district Championship with the playoffs next week.
The Lady Gladiators and their Area playoff game information is TBA.
|Special thanks to team bookkeeper Rita Garza|