02/08/09 — No. 1-ranked WCDS girls come alive in second half

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No. 1-ranked WCDS girls come alive in second half

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 8, 2009 2:00 AM

Foul trouble caused concern.

Free throws clanged off the iron.

Kerr-Vance delivered clutch baskets.

But, somehow, Wayne Country Day managed to survive Friday evening.

Freshman guard Catherine Ford sank two free throws in the final 10 seconds and he No. 1-ranked Chargers posted a thrilling 50-47, overtime victory over the Spartans. Wayne Country Day (18-2 overall) seized sole possession of the Class 1-A Coastal Plains Independent Conference lead at 5-0.

"The girls gutted it out ... didn't play well at all," said second-year Chargers head coach Eric Perry. "They have the hearts of a champion. And that's what a champion does because sometimes you have to find a way to win when you don't play your best."

Wayne Country Day claimed its 13th straight CPIC regular-season victory and had four players to score in double figures. Senior center Bridgette Briggs (14 points, 18 rebounds) and Kim Martell (14 points, 11 rebounds) each notched a double-double.

No basket was bigger than Martell's offensive putback off a Briggs missed free throw with 17.1 seconds left in overtime. Falling backwards, Martell kissed the shot off the glass and gave the Chargers a two-possession lead.

Kerr-Vance (16-5, 3-2 CPIC) pulled within 48-46 on Shameka Valentine's offensive putback, but could get no closer. Ford, who missed a double-double by one rebound, sank two free throws to seal the regular-season sweep of the Spartans. Ford finished with 10 points and nine boards.

"We didn't have our legs tonight," said Perry. "We're a man-to-man team and that Trinity game took a lot out of us. I told them to make the smart plays and find a way to win."

The Chargers toiled through 26 total turnovers, 15 total missed free throws and a woeful 6 for 21 shooting performance in the opening half.

The teams traded leads on three occasions before Martell's offensive putback put Wayne Country Day up 15-14 at halftime. Kerr-Vance led 25-21 after three quarters, but quickly lost the advantage when the Chargers uncorked a 9-0 run.

Senior Brooke Norris (11 points) buried a 3-pointer off Mack Thompson's assist. Ford hit a short jumper in the paint and Martell converted a fast-break layup off Norris' assist to wake up a partisan WCDS crowd.

"That was a huge run," said Perry.

Valentine, who led all scorers with 16 points, tied the game at 31-31 on an offensive putback. The quick-handed point guard drained the game-tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation to force overtime.

"They hit some clutch shots," said Perry.

Wayne Country Day collected field goals on three of its first four possessions to start overtime. The Spartans pulled with 45-44 on Taylor White's 3-pointer until Martell's critical offensive putback helped keep the Chargers in the CPIC's top perch.