Kelena Morris’ Buzzer-Beater Defeats Pirates
The Page Pirates girls’ basketball team knew that they had to defeat the Dudley Panthers on Tuesday night to be in contention for a Conference championship. The Pirates’ came out with the intensity needed to win the game, led most of the contest, but missed free-throws down the stretch ended up costing the Lady Pirates the win. Now the Pirates must pray for a Dudley loss to Southeast on Friday night and win their final Conference game on Friday as well against Southern Alamance to tie for the Season Conference Championship.
The Pirates’ came out strong, and were making baskets left and right. Emily Casper made two three-pointers in the first quarter and Bailey Kargo made one. The team combined to outscore Dudley 20-12 in the first eight minutes of play.
The first shot of the second quarter was a three-pointer by Ava Casper. Dudley followed with on a 9-0 spurt before the Pirates’ answered with a five point run to add to a lead that had been cut to just one basket. The final shot of the first half was a free throw by LeAna Hunt of the Panthers, and the teams went into halftime with Page leading 28-22
Dudley started the second half on a roll scoring nine unanswered points and taking over the lead. With 6:12 left in the third quarter Kelena Morris made a basket that tied the game and exactly thirty seconds later, Cierra Turner’s basket gave Dudley their first lead since they led 4-0 with 6:45 remaining in the first half.
The Pirates’ answered Dudley’s attack with two Bailey Kargo three-pointers, and regained the lead with 2:42 left in the third quarter. The teams went back-and-forth for the final two-and-a-half minutes, and the Pirates led 38-36 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the teams continued to battle back-and-forth, and it appeared neither had command of the game. The Pirates’ had lacked the attack that they had in the first half. The final eight minutes saw three ties and six lead changes.
The Pirates’ were in the bonus, and were fouled twice within the last minute. Both Page players went to the line to shoot one-and-one free-throws and both missed each time, giving the Panthers possession. With 42 seconds left Kelena Morris made a lay-in that tied the game at 48. After the second of the two Pirate one-and-one opportunities Dudley got the rebound and called a timeout to draw up what the Panthers’ hoped would be the game’s final play.
Page coach Debbie Jones had a good idea what play they were going to call.
“We knew they were probably going to try to set up a play for (Kiara) Harrison, and Bailey (Kargo) did a good job jumping that,” Jones said. “Number 12(Teara Johnson) got into the lane, like she did all night, missed the shot, and we didn’t box out.”
Kelena Morris got the rebound on Johnson’s shot and put the ball back up, missed the shot, got her own rebound, and made the game-winning shot right at the sound of the buzzer. The Morris lay-in was the game winner.
Morris was unaware how much time was left when the final shot went in.
“To be honest with you, I never saw the time,” a smiling Morris said postgame. “I thought there were a couple seconds left and we were going to have to get back down the court and time was going to run out. I was very intense, our team was very intense. The important thing is the win.”
Coach Frank McNeil credited his teams’ non-conference schedule for preparing them for the victory.
“Our non-conference schedule is what prepared us for this win,” McNeil said. “Playing Northwest twice, they’re 44-1 over the past two years, probably one of the best teams in the state, it prepares you for these types of games.”
“We’ve been working on that last play for the last three weeks,” McNeil added. “That’s an old play I got from Tom Izzo.”
The Page Pirates (13-7/6-3) face Eastern Guilford in a make-up game on Wednesday night, and then their final game of the season is a Conference game against Southern Alamance on Friday. Dudley (14-7/8-1) plays Mount Tabor on Thursday and ends their season and Conference play with a game against Southeast Guilford Friday night.
Kelena Morris- 16pts
Teara Johnson- 14pts
Kiara Harrison- 10pts
Victoria Harrison- 4pts
Cierra Turner- 4pts
LeAna Hunt- 1pt
Lena Barghan- 1pt
Bailey Kargo- 18pts
Emma Heard- 10pts
Emily Casper- 8pts
Chakayla Patterson- 7pts
Ava Casper- 3pts
Roxanne Pfenning- 2pts
Hendon Hooker Free Throw Beats Page
When the Dudley and Page boys’ teams met at Dudley, the Pirates were the underdogs and emerged victorious by a score of 71-62. The two teams were ready to battle from the start on Tuesday night, with the Page seniors honored before the game.
The game featured two of the area’s best football players, Dudley’s Hendon Hooker, and Page’s Diondre Overton. Overton, a senior, would be playing his last game against his cross-town rival, and good friend, Hendon Hooker.
The first basket of the game was scored by Brandon Lamberth, followed by a basket by Diondre Overton. The game was tied at 2 when the panthers went on a 10-0 run that was led by Josh Hopkins and Brandon Lamberth. Hopkins hit three three-pointers in the first quarter, and finished with 11 of Dudley’s 18 first quarter points. Although the Panthers’ went on that 10-0 run, Page came back and trailed by only four points at the end of the first eight minutes—18-14.
Diondre Overton hit a three-pointer from NBA range to open the scoring in the second quarter. Brion Seagraves scored, and then Page’s Elijah Short hit a three-pointer that tied the game for the first time since the teams opening baskets. Short’s three was made with 5:56 left in the quarter, and Page didn’t score again until there were 2:42 left in the quarter, after Dudley had gone on another scoring tear. This time 11-0. Although the Panthers’ led by 11 with just over two-and-a-half to play in the first half, the Pirates’ came back and only trailed by six at halftime—34-28.
Scoring went back-and-forth in the third quarter. Although the Pirates were scoring, Dudley led the entire eight minutes. The score at the end of the third quarter was 49-46 in favor of the visiting Panthers.
The final quarter of the game showed the intensity of Metro-4A Conference basketball. The teams battled and showed tremendous heart. There were two technical-fouls issued due to flaring tempers, but by the time that Page sophomore Tylan Tatum made two free-throws to tie the game at 57 with 2:55 to play, everyone’s attention was focused on playing hard. On the following possession for Page after Tatum made the free-throws, Jahlen King made one of what has become his signature three-pointers to give page the lead.
It appeared that the Pirates had the momentum on their side, at home, on senior night, but their balloon was busted when with 42.3 seconds left in the game, Josh Hopkins drained another three-pointer to re-tie the game. Both teams were in the double-bonus, and Tatum returned to the line, with the game in his hands, and unfortunately for him, and the Pirates, the ball rolled out of the rim and Dudley gained possession with 29.2 seconds left. A timeout was called, and on the last play of the game, Hendon Hooker was fouled, and went to the line to shoot what could be the game winning free-throws. Hooker made one of his shots, and the Pirates were unsuccessful in regaining the lead. The Panthers won by one point, a Hendon Hooker free-throw.
Page head coach Matt Harder felt his team didn’t make the plays to win the game.
“You just have to make plays,” he said. “We missed too many free-throws and had a couple of careless turnovers at critical points in the game.”
“We still have a lot to play for,” Harder added. “We have a non-conference game against Eastern tomorrow, and we have to go to Southern Alamance on Friday. All we can control is what we do. Our heart, our effort, our passion, the way that we play the game. We have to control those things and worry about the rest later. We’ve still got a lot to play for this season.”
Hendon Hooker showed his confidence during the game, and spoke of it postgame.
“Comfortable” was Hooker’s answer when asked how it felt to be standing at the free-throw line with the game in your hands. “That’s the spot I believe I should be in every game,” he added.
Dudley head coach Brian Seagraves said “the game could’ve gone either way. I liked our poise down the stretch,” Seagraves added. “Josh Hopkins hasn’t been shooting like he was at the beginning of the season. I told him to keep shooting, that’s what shooters do, keep shooting. When he gets hot he’s hard to stop.”
Dudley advances to (14-5/7-2) with the thrilling victory tonight, and Page falls to (9-11/5-4) with the loss. The Panthers play Mt. Tabor Thursday, and their last conference game of the season is against Southeast on Friday. Page’s last two regular season games are Wednesday night against Eastern Guilford and Friday against Southern Alamance.
Josh Hopkins- 16pts
Brandon Lamberth- 14pts
Brion Seagraves- 9pts
Hendon Hooker- 8pts
Jon Zellous- 6pts
Dematus Gilmore- 4pts
Aaron Thomas- 3pts
Tony Moore- 1pt
Diondre Overton- 20pts
Elijah Short- 13pts
Jahlen King- 10pts
Tylan Tatum- 9pts
Jordan Smith- 4pts
Brandon Talton- 4pts