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Trinity overcomes 7-point deficit in final minute of regulation

Trinity Epsicopal School’s Jasmine Ivory runs past Centreville Academy defenders Katelyn Chandler and Katelynn Bell during overtime of a game Tuesday. Trinity won the game 72-68. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Trinity Epsicopal School’s Jasmine Ivory runs past Centreville Academy defenders Katelyn Chandler and Katelynn Bell during overtime of a game Tuesday. Trinity won the game 72-68. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — With 40 seconds to play in regulation, Centreville’s Katelynn Chandler stepped to the free-throw line with an opportunity to give her Lady Tigers a two-possession lead.

After Trinity’s Jasmine Ivory back-to-back steals and layup conversions chipped away at Centreville’s 7-point fourth quarter lead with a minute left to play, Chandler sunk two free throws to give Centreville a 63-59 lead.

“Thank you, Jesus,” Chandler mouthed to herself, exhaling with her eyes closed.

As 30 seconds dwindled off the clock, Trinity could add only one point at the free throw line, decreasing its chances of tying the game. Centreville was set to inbound the ball underneath Trinity’s goal with a 63-60 lead with 11 seconds left to play. As the Lady Tigers tried to pass the ball in, Ivory cut the defender off and grabbed her third steal in the final minute of the game, dishing off to D’Asia Mitchell who converted the and-one layup to tie the game at 63. Overtime ensued.

“I was trying to hustle, because I didn’t want to lose,” said Ivory of the play. “Then came overtime and that makes you work harder for everything.”

Trinity’s press clamped down on Centreville, allowing only one field goal in the four-minute overtime period and limiting Centreville to just five points in the extra period. With free throw conversions and field goals by Mitchell and Dionna Jackson, Trinity won the game 72-68.

“It wasn’t a great game for us, but once we went into overtime, I knew we were going to pull it out,” Trinity head coach Fay Minor said. “I just knew that we had the speed, and we could execute with our press.”

The dramatic ending followed a thrilling comeback by Centreville in the third quarter. After Trinity took command of the game early with a 16-2 run early in the second quarter, the Lady Saints led Centreville 40-26 at halftime. However, Chandler and Katelynn Bell scored most of their combined 39 points in the second half, leading the charge in the third quarter. Centreville outscored Trinity 19-4 in the period.

“We’ve come a long way,” Centreville head coach Ricky Gray said. “Trinity is one of the best girl teams in this region. (Tuesday) is the first time we had a chance to really compete with a great team.”

Sydnie Lyons scored 18 points for the (11-12) Lady Tigers, while Ivory led the (14-5) Lady Saints with 22, Mitchell scored 20 and Jackson produced 18.

The drama only seemingly intensified between Centreville and Trinity when the boys took the court, especially in the second quarter.

With eight seconds remaining in the second quarter, Centreville led Trinity 29-25 before Trinity’s Demond Fleming was whistled for a traveling violation. As the referee who made the call ran down the court alongside Centreville point guard Austin Addington, he ran by Trinity head coach Zach Rogel, who questioned the call. Rogel’s words drew a technical foul before he threw his clipboard and drew another. The back-to-back technical fouls banned Rogel from courtside for the remainder of the contest.

Following the contest, Rogel said he was upset with the referee calling two traveling violations on Fleming, who has used the acrobatic, stutter-step dribble to split defenders in previous contests.

“It’s something I see him do every game,” Rogel said. “I told (the referee), ‘What am I supposed to tell my 15-year-old?’ That’s what drew the technical. I already filed the report. I shouldn’t have to miss the next game.”

Though Rogel questioned whether his actions should have warranted a technical, he accepted the repercussions.

“I have to hold my own better,” Rogel said. “Whether it be reputation or that I’m a young coach, I can’t afford to walk the line.”

Trinity’s Jakaris Caston, who scored 11 points in the first half, rolled his ankle in the second quarter and was unavailable for the second half. Without him, Trinity failed to produce offensively, as the team scored just five points in the fourth quarter, losing to Centreville 56-46.

Addington led Centreville with 16, while Casey Haygood scored 15.

Demond Fleming scored 11 for Trinity, while Kevontaye Caston provided 10 points.

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