SF girls regain control in time

SF girls regain control in time
For the South Fulton girls, all’s well that ends well.
The Devilettes blew a 14-point first-half lead but then rallied from six down in the fourth quarter to beat Lake County 51-50 Friday night for a season sweep of the teams’ District 14A series.
The news was not nearly as good for the Redmen in the nightcap as SF’s losing streak reached 14 games with a 73-47 loss to the state’s No. 4-ranked team.
Cherissa Vinson made 3-of-4 free throws in the final 30 seconds to help the South Fulton girls avoid a complete collapse and stopped the Lady Devils’ losing skid at five straight. SF improved to 6-5 in district play and 7-11 overall.
In the nightcap, the Redmen fell behind early and never seriously challenged LC, which led by double figures 51/2 minutes in and by 25 points at the half.
South Fulton continues District 14A play with its next games Tuesday night at Dresden.
SF 51, Lake County 50 (G)
The Devilettes were seemingly in command during the first two quarters before essentially falling apart against Lake County’s fullcourt defensive pressure in the third period.
A dozen SF turnovers in that third stanza fueled the Lady Falcons’ comeback, the visitors officially overtaking the Big Red on a Sarah Wallace free throw with less than a second left (37-36) after trailing by as much as 25-11 in the first half and by 11 points at the intermission.
Down 44-38 with just over six minutes to play, South Fulton seemingly regained the composure that it had showed in the opening half and got buckets from Brooke Kane and Lauren Dowdy to retake the lead at 46-45 with 1:40 showing. Tarrida Abbott’s hoop at the 1:23 mark put LC briefly in front again before Chelsea Cox converted from in close to put the Devilettes up to stay 48-47.
The two clubs then swapped misses from the field and South Fulton’s Maeghan Eaves misfired twice from the foul line before Vinson sank the second of two charities with a half-minute left that made SF’s lead a deuce at 49-47.
“I certainly wasn’t pleased with us allowing them back in the game with our sloppy ballhandling in the third quarter, but that we finally calmed down after that five- or six-minute stretch and got our composure back and made some plays down the stretch,” South Fulton coach Curt Lee said afterward. “We’ve had some other instances this season where we never calmed down after something like that and lost because we didn’t regain our composure.
“I thought the girls played hard, and this district is so wide open, the teams that play hard all the time and get some breaks have the chance to get some things done come tournament time.”
SF built its big first half lead with patience and good execution. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Eaves and hoops from Dowdy and Cox just before the intermission provided the Devilettes with their largest cushion at 25-11.
Lake County 73, SF 47 (B)
The Red Devils, who won their only game this season Nov. 30 vs. Dresden, offered little resistance vs. LC when the nightcap was still in doubt early.
A run of 11 unanswered points midway through the opening frame put the Falcons up 18-4, and a Patrick Roberson 3-pointer capped a 17-5 Lake County surge in the second period that made it 35-9.
The remainder of the game was a mere formality, as Falcon skipper Jimmy Whitby went deep into his tank of reserves early in the second half.
SF did match up more evenly with Lake County’s backups and a 10-point quarter by David Shepherd in the third kept the Redmen from having the 35-point mercy rule invoked.
Shepherd’s 17 points were tops for SF, while Connor Hicks came off the bench to put in 10.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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