The Cave City Cavewomen hit some big free throws and dodged a near-miss 3-pointer, all with less than 10 ticks remaining in the game, to post a 39-34 victory over Calico Rock in the championship game of the senior girls' division of the Izard County Invitational Tournament Jan. 23 in Melbourne.
Although the Cavewomen led all night long, the Lady Pirates refused to go quietly and used a hard-charging effort in the second half to give Cave City cause for concern.
The top-seeded Cavewomen led by 10, 23-13, at intermission.
But the second-seeded Lady Pirates came out of the half ready to get busy.
And get busy they did.
Sloan Lively (six points) hit two treys for Calico Rock in the frame and by limiting Cave City to just one hoop, by Brooklyn Brinkley, when the stanza ended, the Lady Pirates had edged within three, 25-22.
Calico Rock's assault continued in the final frame as Emily Johnson got on track in a big way. She logged 12 of her game-high 21 points in the last eight minutes of play.
Johnson pulled the trigger on back-to-back 3-balls that brought Calico Rock within three, down 36-33, with 40 ticks left to play.
She then sank a free throw with 16 seconds left that made the score Cave City 36, Calico Rock 34.
Cave City got a charity toss from Claire Caldwell (three points) that gave the Cavewomen a 37-34 lead with nine seconds showing.
Calico Rock had a chance to tie next time down court, but a hurried 3-point attempt missed the mark, forcing the Lady Pirates to foul. Cheyenne Childers stepped to the line and sank both free throws to end calico Rock's bid at an upset, giving Cave City a hard-fought 39-34 win. Childers led Cave City with 18 points.
Cave City led 16-11 after the first period and then held Calico Rock to just two points in the second, giving the Cavewomen a 23-13 advantage at the halftime break.
Jessica Hall posted eight points for Cave City. Taylor Cox finished with five points for Calico Rock, while Brooke McCurley notched two points.