Late run fuels Lady Bears in home win over Meridian

Published 12:21 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2022

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Displaying a resilient, never quit attitude, the Lady Bears got over early woes that plagued them for the first half and most of the third quarter of Monday’s home game against Meridian. And from there they were able to climb back into the contest, take the lead and never relinquish it, claiming a 62-50 win.

“We beat their zone down the floor a few times and we did get into attack mode a little better,” SMCC head coach Brent Harris said. ” We played a smaller lineup that gave us five shooters, five handlers. But then on the other end, we cranked up the defensive intensity.”

Mistakes hurt the Lady Bears (14-7, 9-3) early on as the Lady Eagles raced out to a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Southwest continued to fight, preventing Meridian from running away with the game despite the Lady Eagles leading by as many as 13.

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Down 29-22 at the half, Southwest quickly got back into the game as a Gabby Bunch 3-pointer a minute into the third quarter, cut the Meridian lead down to six at 31-25.

With under a minute to go and the Lady Bears down by four, Southwest got into rhythm offensively. Analya White sunk a shot from the free throw line as she was fouled. She converted the free throw and made a big defensive play on the other end, stealing the ball and making a close-range shot on the other end putting the hosts up 42-41.

With 6:18 to go in the fourth quarter, an Abbey Gallager 3-pointer not only broke a 45-45 tie and fired up the many in attendance in the SMCC gym but gave a renewed sense of energy to the Lady Bears.

Then in an act of déjà vu, a strong defensive stand resulted in another Meridian turnover before Gallager nailed another 3-pointer from almost the same spot as she did before putting Southwest ahead 51-45.

“I had to find a way to score the ball,” said Gallager, a South Pike alum. “And I was open and my teammate passed me the ball. I just did what I do and just shot my 3.”

From there, the Lady Bears kept up the pressure defensively as Analya White got multiple fast break makes as a result.

“It is good when you get in passing lanes,” she said. “When you jump too early it will create scoring opportunities for them. So I feel like when we get in the passing lane and get steals, that turns into offense.”

As the fourth quarter clock continued to tick down, the Lady Bears maintained their double-digit lead before finishing off the Lady Eagles to seal the win.

White led Southwest with 18 points while Gallager had 16.

Next up for Southwest is a road contest Thursday in Perkinston against Mississippi Gulf Coast.