PENDLETON – Friday night, the Lady Griffins travelled to face Pendleton High School for the second round of the 2A playoffs. Pendleton, a school with a great tradition for athletics and especially girls’ basketball, entered the game at 22-3.
The first quarter saw the Lady Griffins get off to a fast start, building a large early lead before settling on an 18-12 lead to end the opening quarter. An aggressive defense coupled with timely shooting had the Lady Griffins in good position and that carried far into the second quarter as well.
The Bulldogs did not get a field goal in the first four minutes of the second quarter and were held to a total of 7 points in the period. Unfortunately, the Bulldog defense was just as stingy as the Lady Griffins’ defense, and Fairfield Central could only muster 7 points as well.
The third quarter saw more scoring as each team picked up 11 points, but neither team could swing the momentum their way and keep it. The Lady Griffins looked to pull away in the final quarter and built their lead to double digits at one point, but could not maintain it.
The final two minutes of the fourth quarter saw Pendleton make a frenzied run to erase a 9 point lead and jump out to their own lead. With just a few seconds remaining, Tanise Davis managed to get a shot off and was fouled. After two clutch free throws, the game headed to overtime.
Overtime was not kind to Fairfield Central this year and Friday night saw another painful loss. The Lady Bulldogs were able to find their offense and put up 12 points in the extra period. The Lady Griffins picked up two points from Tanise Davis, but saw four players foul out between the final minutes of the fourth quarter and the opening of overtime.
With the defensive presence of Tamisha Woodard and Cristin Gray sidelined, the Lady Griffins struggled to find answers. When Tanise Davis and Jameka Henderson fouled out, the offense lost its way and was not able to recover.
Coach Amelia Miller said her team did everything possible to get the win.
“We had some turnovers, bad turnovers, at the end. But I thought that even when we let that game get close, those referees made sure they take it from us,” Miller said. “I felt like the girls played extremely hard. They left everything out there. It came down to decision making, we made terrible turnovers at the wrong time.”
Credit, Miller said, had to go to Pendleton for their tenacity.
“They went on a run, and I knew they would go on a run, and I knew we would have to sustain it, but we didn’t sustain it,” she said. “Our girls were already in foul trouble, we had four to foul out. So we had to play it safe.”
Despite the loss, the Lady Griffins 17-7 and put themselves in position for a region championship. Coach Miller said she was proud of this team and their effort.
“I’m extremely proud of how the girls played all season,” she said. “They fought tonight and into overtime. My seniors did everything they could do to try to stay in it and I hate it for them. They worked so hard in the off season.”