BY ADAM GREENE
A scramble for the ball turned into a moment sophomore guard Ashton Wykle will never forget. With the game tied against Morristown West High School and just two seconds on the clock, Wykle dove after a loose ball and put it up for three points as the buzzer sounded in a 57-54 South Greene win Tuesday night at South Greene High School.
"We knew when they had the ball, we weren't going to give them a three," South Greene coach Stephen Gregg said. "If they took the two, we already had a play called. We wanted to have the last shot. It didn't work out how we drew it up."
But it still worked. The Lady Rebels (5-2) missed there first try at the game winner, but senior Maelyn Cutshaw popped the ball free from the scrum under the net and out to Wykle. Wykle did the rest, before being swarmed by her team.
"Everybody was yelling 'three!' and 'shoot it!,'" Wykle said. "So I shot it. Feeling my team come up to me after that, it was pretty neat."
It took a battle for the Lady Rebels to get back into the game. Morristown West (2-3) held South Greene scoreless for over two minutes to open the game. At the end of the first period, the Lady Trojans led 15-10.
"We've been working hard on playing better defense," Wykle said. "We need to keep doing that because that's where we get our points from."
Those points finally started showing up in the second quarter. Wykle, Cutshaw and Cheyenne Upton began sinking baskets and forcing bad Morristown West possessions. Upton scored 10 points in the first half and ended with 16. Cutshaw also scored 16 in the game.
At the half, the Lady Rebels had cut Morristown West's lead to three.
The Lady Trojans expanded their lead to nine halfway through the third period after back-to-back threes from Hailey Seals and Kelsey Lawson. South Greene never let them stretch it further, charging back again before the end of the period. Alora Ricker hit a three off the left corner to pull within one, 39-38.
"Our defensive effort wasn't there in the first half," Gregg said. "With five and a half to go, we still hadn't had the lead the whole game. I challenged them to play defense as hard as they've ever played. They gave the effort, forced some turnovers and forced some quick shots."
Finally, with two minutes to go South Greene tied the game for the first time with a three-pointer from Cutshaw.
"You always are supposed to feel like you'll win," Wykle said. "We were trying to keep positive about it the whole time."
The positive thinking worked, with South Greene took a one-point lead on a free throw from Cutshaw. Upton hit another free throw with 1:12 to go to go up 54-52.
Morristown West's Abbie Craine tied the game with less than a minute left, setting up Wykle's chance to steal the show.
Craine finished with 14 points for the Lady Trojans.