NEWBERRY — Another near-capacity crowd filled the Scott Gym on Friday and while they were waiting on the boys’ game to start, it would witness the first of two of the most exciting finishes to a Lady Bulldog game in recent memory.
The Lady Wildcats came into the game with a record of 13-3, ranked seventh, and still had the bad taste of opening regional play with a last second loss to Mid-Carolina.
Ninety Six quickly opened an 8-2 lead just 2:17 into the game. Ninety Six led after each of the first three quarters, thanks largely to their 16-7 first quarter run.
The lead went back and forth between the two teams during the final 3:45 of the fourth quarter, as Ninety Six would have a one-point advantage with 5.8 seconds to go when Newberry called its next to last time-out.
Getting the ball across from the Ninety Six foul line, freshman Tyshira Bates never slowed down as her uncontested jumper inside the paint rolled around the rim before falling though the net as the buzzer was sounding for a 39-38 victory.
The Lady Wildcats went 10-of-21 from the free throw line while Newberry converted seven of their 25 attempts.
Ninety Six got 14 field shots on the night, including not a single one in the entire second quarter. Newberry made 14 field shots, including the only three-pointers for the game with two. Bates had a team high 14 points.
Arnasia Boyd scored 13 points while Octavia Grandy scored seven points, including making a steal and lay-up to tie the score in the final stanza.
Mya Ruff and Breanna Mathis scored two points each while Shidediria Maybin finished the Newberry scoring off with a lone free-throw in the fourth quarter.
‘We want 100’
In his 11 years as the boys head basketball coach, Chad Cary had yet to coach a team to over 100 points in a regional contest.
The Ninety Six Wildcats only led at the start of the game as Newberry scored a seasonal high 32 points in both the first and second quarters to take a 64-26 advantage into the locker rooms.
With Bulldog fans welcoming back the team to start the second half with cheers of “We want 100,” Newberry quickly set a pace to do just that as they scored 26 points in the third quarter to lead 90-41 with the final eight minutes to go.
With 3:21 left in the game, Newberry had a 100-50 advantage as they would improve to 3-0 in regional action with their 109-59 victory. All 15 Newberry players that dressed scored at least one point.
Jalin Alexander had a game-high 17 points while Jeremy Summers scored 12. Bennett Wilson, Trey Gary and Trey Miller each scored 10 points. Dominic Gilmore finished with nine points while Devin Harmon scored eight. Jaylen Lindsay and Roquon Davenport each contributed seven points, Greely Saddler finished with six while Tyon Williams scored five points.
Notorious Booker had three points while Jimmy Willingham and Jaylen Reeder finished with two points apiece.
The Newberry scoring ended with a lone free throw from Tovaris Cureton.
Lady Bulldogs, Bulldogs take on FCHS
If defeating the seventh ranked team in AA wasn’t enough, the Lady Bulldogs came right back 24 hours later to play the top-ranked Fairfield Central Lady Griffins, whom had defeated them earlier in the season by 28 points.
Fairfield Central came into the game Saturday with a record of 11-2.
Newberry took a 20-18 lead into the locker rooms but both teams would be deadlocked at 31 points apiece heading into the final quarter.
Trailing 45-43, Newberry’s Grandy was fouled and she missed both free throws. Before a Lady Griffin could make a move, Boyd dashed toward the loose ball, made the lay-up and was fouled with 17.9 seconds remaining. Boyd completed the three-point play and the Lady Griffins called their final time out, trailing by a point.
Newberry head coach Melissa Mendenhall sent out Fatima Sims, Boyd, Bates, Grandy and Mathis with the order of “don’t foul.”
Attempting the potential winning shot with less than 10 seconds to go, the ball fell to the far right side of the paint. Grandy grabbed the loose ball and was fouled with 7.5 seconds.
The sophomore missed the first free throw but the second fell for the two-point advantage. The Griffins were unable to get a shot off before the final buzzer.
Grandy had a team-high 13 points. Bates also scored in each of the four quarters and finished with 11 points. Boyd scored nine points while Ruff, Mathis and Sims each scored four points apiece. Maybin finished the Newberry scoring off with two points. Newberry is now 5-8 on the season.
After trailing 1-0, Newberry went on an 11-0 run as they would never trail after this to complete a four-game sweep of the Griffins on the day after their 73-54 victory.
Notorious Booker and Jalin Alexander each scored 16 points apiece for Newberry.
Kaheem Praylow, who had sat out Friday’s game due to an injury, scored 13 points as Booker, Alexander and Praylow each scored in every quarter of play. Trey Miller scored 11 points while Jaylen Lindsay scored five. Tovaris Cureton finished with four points while Wilson, Harmon, Williams and Summers each scored two points. The Bulldogs are now 15-2 on the season.
The Newberry teams finish off the first half of regional action this week with a trip to Batesburg-Leesville on Tuesday and to Mid-Carolina on Friday.
The Bulldog and Panthers’ boys teams are both sporting 3-0 records in the region.