Lady Bulldogs pour it on in the 4th to grind out 60-51 win over Lee
Freshman Kolby Maples scores 13 for Dogs in first game
By Mark Randall
It took a late run in the fourth quarter, but the Earle Lady Bulldogs came from behind to grind out a 60-51 win over the Lee Spartans on Saturday, helped by a 13 point effort by freshman Kolby Maples.
Maples was playing in her first game as a starter and pumped in eight points in the fourth to help seal the win.
“We just moved her up,” said Coach Corey Garrett.
“She gave us a big spark off the bench — just her athleticism and her ability to score, and her ability to play both ends of the floor.
That’s a big plus. We needed that today.”
The Bulldogs (23-4) fell behind 14-8 in the first quarter and found themselves down 23-20 at the half due to poor shooting and foul trouble.
Earle allowed 16 points alone in the first half to Spartan Tionna Martin — 14 of which came on free throws.
“She had a heck of a game against us tonight,” Garrett said. “To allow 14 on free throws, that’s a lot.”
Garrett said the team under-performed in the first half and he told them in the locker room that they needed to pick up the intensity.
“We came out flat for whatever reason,” Garrett said. “I can’t put my finger on why. Our shooting was terrible. I don’t know why we came out the way we did. I don’t know if senior night had something to do with it.
“So we talked about picking up the defensive intensity and not fouling quite as much. We just made a concerted effort not to foul and not to shoot jump shots and to just attack the net.”
The Bulldogs got to within one with 2:57 to play in the third period but the Spartans widened their lead to 37-31 going into the final quarter.
Earle gained its first lead of the game with 5:42 left to play in the fourth on a bucket by Tasja Hughey to go up 44-43. The Bulldogs turned it on the rest of the way to outscore Lee 29 to 14 points in the quarter.
Maples pumped in four points with under two minutes to go and Alex Logan added four more with just under a minute to go to seal the win.
Garrett said the girls managed to turn things around with a strong fourth quarter effort.
“The girls just started playing with a sense of urgency,” Garrett said.
“They realized we were about to let a game get away that we should win.
The shots we missed in the first half, we made them in the fourth quarter.”
Elaijha Brown finished with a team high 20 points for the Bulldogs.
“I put a lot of pressure on her to kind of take over the game,” Garrett said. “She kept us in the game while we were struggling. I’m proud of the way she played tonight. She came through for us big time.
She is capable of playing that every game.”
Maples finished with 13 points and pulled in six rebounds.
“She is a heck of a player and a really special kid,” Garrett said.
Alex Logan added nine points and Kelsey Moore finished with eight points and six rebounds.
“Alex stepped up toward the end,” Garrett said.
“She wasn’t having a very good game. But she made some key buckets and got some key rebounds toward the end. And Kelsey I think gave us a spark inside and a presence we didn’t have when we were struggling for most of the game.”
Earle finished 24-64 or 38 percent shooting on the night and scored 46 points in the paint. The team made 12 of 24 shots from the free throw line but was 0 for 7 shooting three pointers.
Garrett said it wasn’t the team’s best effort, but was glad they could grind out a win.
“I’m just glad to get the victory,” Garrett said. “We pride ourselves on being able to grind it out. We’ve had some blowouts so you kind of need games like this where you aren’t playing your best but are still able to find a way to win.
And we did that tonight.”