NEWBERRY — Going into the Scott Gym Monday evening against Pendleton High School for a playoff ticket to the 3A upper-state championship game…the six Newberry High Lady Bulldog seniors had seen not only an undefeated jayvee season as freshmen…but also just five losses in their 42 varsity games played there in as many as five years that some of them have been a part of.
Newberry will be taking the Bon Secours Center in Greenville this Saturday afternoon around 2:00 as their 52-49 victory advances them to the semi-finals for a fifth consecutive year.
Even though they only had nine players dressed to play…the Lady Bulldogs from Pendleton did not show any signs of that being a weakness of theirs against Newberry’s 14 players on their bench.
In fact, a lone converted free-throw was the deciding factor in the first quarter as Pendleton led 11-10…after both teams made four field shots apiece…with one being a three-pointer from each squad.
All-state selectees Rayanna Davis and Kelsey Felks combined to outscore the entire Pendleton team in the second quarter…16-to-10, as Newberry led by seven at the break, 28-21.
With one of the largest contingent of Newberry fans in the gym this season…the yells of “shoot” to Davis as the first half buzzer was about to sound…prompted her to bring the home crowd to their feet with a nothing but net three-pointer that was attempted from out in an NBA territory.
Pendleton, in the entire second half, kept chipping at the lead to where they actually tied it at a few points…but they never could see the positive side of the scoreboard…but Newberry’s facing off against Seneca on Saturday for a second straight year was not decided until the final buzzer.
With a one-point lead and about 10 seconds left in the game, Davis, after missing five consecutive free-throws in the final stanza, was good on two more attempts, as Newberry led by three points.
Newberry Head Coach Melissa Mendenhall called a time-out to set up their final defensive strategy.
With most of the Scott Gym fans standing on both sides of the gym in anticipation…Pendleton drove down to their end of the court, but instead of attempting a potential tying three-pointer…tried to make a basket inside the paint and draw the foul as well.
The Pendleton player was unsuccessful in both attempts, as Davis grabbed the rebound to preserve Newberry’s 21st victory this season…against three losses.
Davis ended the night with 19 points, while Felks got all of her 10 points in the middle two quarters of play.
Zacharia Epps scored eight of her 10 points from the charity stripe, while Reghan Miller contributed eight points.
Lindsey Ruff scored all of her four points in the third quarter, while the Newberry scoring ended with a lone free-throw of Diamond Davis.
Along with Davis, Ruff, Miller and Felks…Kelsey Havird and Morgan Moon also played their final home game in the Scott Gym on Monday as seniors.