SALUDA — There’s an old saying that a team’s offense puts fans in the seats but it’s the defense that puts championship banners on the walls.
It remains to be seen if the 2012-13 Newberry High Lady Bulldogs will qualify for a banner but their defense did help them remain in first place in the region after their 42-36 victory Saturday afternoon at Saluda High.
When Newberry hosted Saluda earlier this month, only seven Lady Tigers dressed for the game as they never led in their 45-27 defeat.
Ten Saluda players made their way onto the roster this time as they led by a lone point after each of the first two quarters, 10-9 and 19-18.
Newberry’s Tyshira Bates got a lay-up, a steal and then another lay-up as the Lady Bulldogs went from being a point down to being up 34-31 with 3:58 left in the contest.
Three of Saluda’s starters had four fouls in the waning minutes of the game with all three fouling out during the final minute as Newberry improves to 8-8 on the season as they have a half-game advantage over Abbeville with a 5-1 regional record after this 42-36 victory.
Saluda went to the free-throw line 22 times, converting eight, including only three opportunities between the second and third quarters combined.
The Lady Bulldogs went to the charity stripe 42 times and even though they missed 27 of them, converting seven straight between the second and third quarters kept them in the game as they did not make any field shots during this time before Bates hit the game’s only three-pointer.
Bates ended the night with 12 points while Octavia Grandy scored 11.
Grandy and Bates were the only players in the game to score in each of the four quarters.
Breanna Mathis scored eight points, including five in the first quarter while Arnasia Boyd finished with seven, whom like Bates, scored five of their points in the final quarter.
The Newberry scoring ended with the four points of Mya Ruff as three of Newberry’s final four games in the regular season are in the Scott Gym, including Tuesday’s game against the Abbeville Panthers.