Lady Saints hold off Lady Navigators, 44-39

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 31, 2002

Three free throws in the last minute by Lexi Holland and Britney Bishop allowed Nansemond-Suffolk Academy (NSA) to escape with a 44-39 victory over Hampton Roads Academy (HRA) in the quarterfinals of the TCIS tournament Wednesday at Norfolk Christian Academy. The victory marked the second consecutive year that the Lady Saints knocked the Lady Navigators out of the tournament.

An aggressive HRA attack allowed the Lady Navigators to lead by as many as six in the second quarter, capped off by an Anne Harris jumper that gave them a 22-16 lead with 1:34 to play. But Ashley Hill tossed in a layup and three free throws in the remainder to come to within one as the half ended.

&uot;We normally don’t come out strong in the first half,&uot; said Hill, one of two seniors on the team (the other, Ashley Winslow, celebrated her 18th birthday with four points in the win). &uot;We weren’t rebounding like we could.&uot;

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They finally kicked things into gear in the third quarter. Hill laid in another shot 17 seconds into the quarter, and Bishop dropped in three more buckets to give the Lady Saints a 29-22 lead with 3:30 left. Sarah Otey swished a free throw for HRA, but it was the Lady Navigators only score of the period. Mean-while, Hill and Bishop scored again to end the quarter ahead 33-23.

Stopping Otey, who lead all scorers with 22 points, was a focus of the Lady Saint defense, said Bishop.

&uot;We knew we had to get up on her and rotate down,&uot; said Bishop, whose 20 points were tops for the Lady Saints. &uot;We had to keep her from getting her passes.&uot;

To an extent, this worked; Otey only had two baskets in the second half. She also had five free throws in the final quarter, which kept the Lady Saints from running away.

A Bishop layup with 2:44 left gave NSA a 41-33 ad-vantage, but Harris, Otey, and Danielle Stevens scored seven points in the next 1:50 to get as close as 41-39.

Though the Lady Saints had missed three free throws during the Lady Navigator run (NSA made only nine free throws all game), the line became their ally in the last moments, as Holland swished a shot with :43 on the clock and Bishop two more with :17 seconds to ice the game.

&uot;I wasn’t really nervous,&uot; said Bishop. &uot;I knew what I had to do.&uot;

The Lady Saints will battle Norfolk Collegiate (against whom they went 1-1 in the regular season) at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening at Norfolk Christian.