By Troy Treasure
South Shelby had made important fourth-quarter free throws earlier against Knox County Tuesday, January 21.
But nursing a 43-42 lead with 2:12 remaining, it was Emma Dovin’s jumper that pushed the fourth-seeded Lady Birds ahead by three and toward a 52-44 first-round win at the 32nd Annual North Shelby Tournament.
A Kaylee Gaines fast-break lay-in shortly thereafter secured South Shelby’s ninth victory of the season.
The Lady Birds will play girls No. 1 seed Scotland County in the semifinals at a time and date to be determined due to winter weather.
In other games Tuesday, Knox County’s Coltin Morrow scored 20 points as the Eagles defeated Scotland County 57-44. The Scotland girls and La Plata boys are the tournament’s top seeds. Both squads notched dominate first-round wins against Highland’s junior varsity teams.
In the South Shelby game, freshman Miranda Patterson led the Lady Birds with 14 points, five on fourth-quarter foul shots. Kylee Woods topped the Lady Eagles with a game-high 18 points.
SS (9-6) shot 16 of 23 at the line for the game. Knox County was 6 of 15 on free throws with only two attempts in the second half.
In the first half, the Lady Birds led by 10 on three occasions. Knox County hung around despite missing a high percentage of close-in shots in the second quarter.
Jaiden Linebaugh’s top-of-the-key 3-pointer with 1:13 left pulled the Lady Eagles to within four, 27-23, and that was the score at halftime.
The third quarter featured much faster tempo, including a pair of quick South Shelby baskets from Patterson and Carly Collins. Knox County got its inside game clicking as Woods powered in four low-post buckets.
SS led 39-38 at the end of the period.
Kinsely Johnson’s field goal to start the fourth put the Lady Eagles up by one as the game see-sawed until the Lady Birds clinched at the end.