Great Bridge edges Lady Saints in OT

Published 11:26 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nansemond-Suffolk eighth-grader Harper Birdsong pulls up on a Lady Saint fast break during Wednesday evening’s game against Great Bridge in the NSA Girls Basketball Holiday Tournament. Birdsong scored 17 points but the visiting Lady Wildcats edged the Lady Saints 55-49 in overtime.

Nansemond-Suffolk rallied from a nine-point deficit late in the third quarter but Great Bridge survived a last-second chance for the Lady Saints to win in regulation and won 55-49 in overtime on the first night of the NSA Girls Basketball Holiday Tournament Wednesday night.

The visiting Lady Wildcats, the only Southeastern District opponent the Lady Saints will face this season, led most of the game although always by a single-digit margin.

Great Bridge built up its largest advantage at 36-27 as the clock went under two minutes remaining in the third period.

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The Lady Saints had no problem knocking down shots in the first half, when they controlled the ball long enough to get good looks at the basket. NSA made 9-of-16 field goal attempts in the opening half but committed 15 turnovers. NSA found its offensive rhythm again just in time.

NSA closed within 36-32 going to the fourth period and Harper Birdsong’s steal and fast-break lay-up cut Great Bridge’s lead to a hoop seconds into the new quarter.

On the next NSA trip, Jessica Pieroni finished a lay-up as she was fouled after a sharp assist by Birdsong. Pieroni made the free throw and NSA led 37-36.

The Lady Saint run continued with Birdsong making two at the line after being fouled on a three-point shot. NSA center Sarah Baldwin picked off the ensuing Lady Wildcat inbounds pass, leading to Pieroni being fouled and making two at the line for a 41-37 Lady Saint lead.

The 14-1 NSA run ended with a four-point Lady Wildcat trip down the court, making it 41-41. Great Bridge took advantage of more offensive rebounding, which made up the majority of the Lady Wildcat offense all night, for a three-point play and a 47-47 score with 1:49 showing.

The sides traded tense empty possessions from there. NSA had the last chance for the winning points. Getting the ball with 9.8 seconds left, point guard Morgan Lokie kept the ball, drove into the lane and missed a lay-up a second before the horn.

Great Bridge led 52-49 for a long stretch as NSA’s defense kept getting critical stops but the Lady Saints had four straight possessions go for naught.

The Lady Wildcats got one more key offensive board at the right time. On an 0-for-2 Great Bridge trip to the line with 0:21 left, a Great Bridge rebound led to another NSA foul instead of an NSA chance to tie the game. Great Bridge got 1-of-2 on the second trip to the line and a two-possession lead was safe enough.

Pieroni scored 13 of her team-high 18 points in the second half. Lokie had 13 rebounds and four steals. Birdsong had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.

The Lady Saints (5-2) will play in the consolation game of the Holiday Tournament Thursday at 5 p.m. After Christmas, the Lady Saints will play in a tournament at Tidewater Academy on Monday and Tuesday.