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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lady Cougs survive Tuckerman upset bid

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

HOT HAND: Izard County's Rachel Harmon goes baseline for two of her game-high 16 points in the Lady Cougars' 41-39 win over Tuckerman in the Kell Classic Jan. 2. Photo/Mullins
In the end, two Amandas just couldn't equal one Rachel in the opening round of the George Kell Classic Jan. 2 at Swifton High School.

The 12th-seeded Tuckerman Lady Bulldogs, paced by their one-two punch of Amanda Kendrick and Amanda McGhee came ready to play, but a big afternoon from Izard County's Rachel Harmon helped the fifth-seeded Lady Cougars avoid Tuckerman's bid for an upset.

Harmon tossed in a game-high 16 points, including 10 in the crucial fourth period, as Izard County slipped past the Lady Bulldogs 41-39.

Tuckerman had a couple of chances to send the game to overtime, but the Lady Bulldogs missed a point-blank layup, along with a couple of stickback attempts, right at the buzzer.

Tuckerman took a 30-22 lead into the final stanza before the Lady Cougars started clawing their way back into contention.

Trisha Arnold (seven points) opened the fourth with a pair of charity tosses for Izard County, followed by the first of Harmon's two triples in the frame.

Harmon's second 3-ball, followed quickly by a steal and layup with 3:28 left in the game, knotted the score at 34-all, as the Lady Cougars erased an eight-point deficit to start the final period.

An offensive rebound, putback and free throw from Amber Hall (11 points) with 2:18 showing on the clock, gave the Lady Cougars their first lead since midway into the second period.

And with the lead back on their side, the Lady Cougars did not budge.

Tuckerman did manage to square things at 39-all on a charity toss from Hannah Kagen with 1:09 left in the game, but two clutch free throws by Kristen Doty with 18 ticks left pushed Izard County in front 41-39.

With time running out, Tuckerman pushed the ball under its own basket, but just couldn't get a shot to drop, leaving the Lady Cougars with a hard-fought two-point victory.

The Lady Cougars started the contest off on solid footing with a triple from Harmon and bucket in the paint from Kaydie Campbell (eight points) staking Izard County to a quick 5-zip lead.

A 3-pointer from Hall, coupled with two free throws from Campbell, helped the Lady Cougars to a 14-7 advantage after one period of play.

But the wheels fell off the Lady Cougars' wagon in the second period.

Amanda Kendrick and Amanda McGhee got on track on the offensive end and Tuckerman's defense came to life on the other end, as the Lady Bulldogs rallied for the lead. Kendrick and McGhee logged 11 points apiece to pace Tuckerman.

Izard County could manage just two free throws from Hall in the second, and thanks to Tuckerman outscoring the Lady Cougars 13-2 in the frame, the Lady Bulldogs took a 20-16 lead to intermission.

Tuckerman managed to stay in front for the duration of the third period and when Kagen closed the book on the frame with a 3-pointer, the Lady Bulldogs had their biggest lead of the game, 30-22.

But Izard County refused to fold and thanks to the steady hand of Harmon in the fourth period, the Lady Cougars lived to advance to the second round of the George Kell Classic.

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