Lady Knights do just enough to earn home game in Subs
By Tim Gayle
Survive and advance.
That might have been the theme for the Catholic girls in the Class 4A Area 4 championship game in the Catholic gym on Friday night.
It wasn’t their best performance, but a 38-37 win over BTW Magnet was enough to help the Lady Knights capture the area title and host a sub-regional game on Monday. Catholic will play Ashford at home tonight at 7 p.m.
“We obviously didn’t play a great game,” Catholic coach Jill Clark said. “I think we were tight, a little nervous, a little too excited. And it was very physical so we kind of had to adjust to that. Give credit to BTW. I thought they had a good game plan and hit some big shots.”
The BTW game plan was simple and effective. In order to keep Catholic’s girls from getting the ball inside to Iyana Tate, they were going to swarm the guards with a physical style of attack and force turnovers.
“It’s always a physical game with them,” Catholic senior guard Michaelyn Foster said. “We’ve beaten them by more in the past. I guess the stakes are higher so everyone’s going at it. It was everybody coming together.”
Everybody did play a role, but their point production was reduced. Tate only touched the ball a handful of times and was attacked every time she did. As a result, she had one field goal in the third quarter and another in the fourth, finishing with five points.
Aleigha Walden, a key shooter in so many victories this season, had trouble handling the pressure as well and had one field goal in the first and third quarters to finish with six points.
“Michaelyn is our little sparkplug,” Clark said. “She’s going to get it done. She’s probably going to have to have an ice pack. She got killed, on the ground I don’t know how many times. She just keeps getting back up.”
Foster finished with 20 points and she needed every one of them after BTW point guard Jada Davison hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute to trim the deficit to 36-35 with 12 seconds left.
After Walden was fouled on the ensuing possession, she missed both free-throw attempts but grabbed the rebound of the second miss and was fouled again with seven seconds left. This time, she hit both free throws for a three-point lead.
Foster was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
In addition to crediting her teammates, Foster said the home-court advantage was a huge boost.
“Our student section was crazy,” she said. “We never have a student section like that. For them to be out here like that, we’re doing something, so I’m happy.”