The Highland girls lost at Gosnell on Jan. 12 in a odd game that saw two overtimes and the Lady Pirates finish with just four girls on the court. It took five straight buckets at the beginning of the fourth quarter for the Lady Rebs to pull away with a 45-40 win over Corning in the semi-finals of the Kell Classic on Jan. 13. The Lady Redskins contained Alex Isaacs for most of the night to hand Highland a third conference loss 62-52 at Pocahontas on Jan. 14.
In boys' action, the Rebels lost to Gosnell 64-55 at home on Jan. 11 and fell to the Greyhounds 57-50 at Newport on Jan. 15.
Even though Isaacs put in four shots and two free throws for all of Highland's points, Bay hit three treys to jump out to a 15-10 first quarter lead.
"We were a little bit tense. A little bit tight early. We'd get within three feet and air-ball it over the basket, and they hit the 3s early," said Head Coach Harlan Davis. "I didn't think early we did a real good job of getting close enough to them, getting our hands in their shooting pocket."
But the Lady Rebs limited their turnovers to four for the game and slowly worked their way back into the game. Bay held a slim 26-25 halftime lead, because Isaacs hit a "I'd-better-shoot-it" 3 as the buzzer rang.
Highland took its first lead of the game on the first possession of the second half and kept it until just under two minutes in the third when the Lady Yellowjackets went up 38-37 on a Trisha Dedman basket. But Kristina Langston, Whitney Davis and Isaacs finished with buckets to give Highland a 43-38 advantage.
"We got the ball down to our big girls. They didn't double down quite as fast to give us trouble," explained Davis. "When they did, we did a pretty good job of finding the other."
Both teams made a shot to start the fourth and then struggled to score. Bay had to send Highland to the free throw line midway through the period and the Lady Rebs' six-of-11 from the charity stripe was good enough to secure the win.
"Against Pocahontas the other night, we really tried to play a power game and we couldn't get people open enough," said Davis. "Tonight I had my mind made up that we were going to switch offenses every time down the floor."
Davis only played five players in this game and only four scored. Isaacs led with 29, Langston added 18 and Davis and Bobie Jo Cooper had four each.
With the game tied at 26-all after three, Kaitlin Scribner hit two shots, including a trey, Isaacs put in two buckets and Langston added another to get Highland a 37-28 lead over Corning. The Lady Bobcats cut the lead to four with four minutes remaining, but the Lady Rebs went eight-of-10 from the line to punch their ticket to the championship game.
Langston led the team with 18 points, followed by Davis and Scribner with 11 apiece. Isaacs, who was held scoreless through three quarters, finished with five points.
Pocahontas outscored the Lady Rebels 20-15 in the second and 15-10 in the third, to cruise to a 62-52 3-4A conference victory.
"We didn't have as good of scoring distribution all over the floor. I didn't do a very good job of mixing some offenses up to get everybody moving a little bit more," admitted Davis.
Cooper led the team with 18 points. Langston added 11.
It's not that Gosnell played significantly better than Highland. The Rebels won the first quarter, 19-14, and the third quarter, 20-15. The Pirates shot 63 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the free throw line, as compared to the Rebs 55 percent and 67 percent, respectively. Highland had 19 turnovers, but Gosnell committed 16 in the game.
The difference in the game is the Pirates' 21-5 second period. The Rebs only got off two shots and missed the front ends of two one-and-one opportunities.
Kenny Nicholson had four treys and two old fashion 3-point plays to guide the team with 22. Brad Harris put in 14 and Landon Strobbe had 10.
Rebel Head Coach Chad Arnhart rotated 10 players against Newport, and all 10 players found the basket, but like many of the Rebels contest this year, one quarter got away from them.
Highland went up 21-17 at halftime by forcing six Greyhound turnovers in the second, but suffered a 17-5 third period to give Newport too much of a lead heading into the final frame.
In a frenzied fourth quarter that saw 47 points scored, the Greyhounds matched Highland shot for shot to keep the Rebels at bay and pick up an important conference win.
Harris scored 17 points followed for the Rebs.