Article From Hickory Daily Record, Sunday 2/17/13 issue.
By Allen Hays

Bucs go to OT to knock off No. 1-ranked opponent

Record Sports Writer

ROBERT C. REED / FOR THE RECORD

HICKORY — Sometimes persistence pays off.

Trailing for all but the final 4 ½ minutes on Sat­urday, the Catawba Val­ley Community College women got their first lead and went on to beat top ­ranked Louisburg Junior College 75-70 in overtime at CVCC’s Tarlton Complex. The 11th ranked Bucs (24-0, 10-0) lead the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference basketball race after their biggest win of the season. Louisburg came in ranked No. 1 in the nation among National Junior College Athletic As­sociation (NCJAA) Division II women.

The win leaves the Bucs with a 1 ½ game lead over the Hurricanes with four conference games remain­ing including a trip to Lou­isburg in the final regular season game on March 2.

“We worked on our zone offense most of the week to try to combat their quick hands,” said CVCC head coach Tommy Edwards. “But we couldn’t really get anything to open up early. Later, we were able to the ball inside to Kadesha (Gibbs) in the paint and we made some good things happen out of that.”

The Hurricanes came out hot to start the second half with an 11-2 run in which Jazmine Parker scored nine points to give Louisburg (20-2, 8-1) a 42-34 lead.

After two free throws by CVCC’s Lativa Lee, Louis­burg scored the next four points to extend its lead to 46-34.

Two baskets by Gibbs and a shot by Anika Jones closed the Bucs within 46-40, but Louisburg went on a 7-0 run for its largest lead at 53-40 with nine minutes, 31 seconds left to play and forced Edwards to call a timeout.

After the timeout, it was clear the Bucs had been told to get the ball inside to Gibbs.

She responded with con­secutive baskets to trim the lead to 53-44. And af­ter a Louisburg bucket, Stephanie Cabral scored. Another Gibbs bucket and a 3-pointer by Jones then cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 57-51.

After Louisburg’s Olivia Gaines scored, CVCC ran off the next nine points to take it first lead with 4:26 to play.

That set up a wild finish to regulation play.

After CVCC went up 65-61 on a shot by Cabral, Louisburg’s Justin Taylor connected on a 3-pointer with 28.5 seconds left to make it 65-64. The Hurri­canes then fouled Matrice Sweezy with 18.6 second left in regulation. She made the first free throw and missed the second.

Parker was fouled by Sweezy with 18.6 seconds left and CVCC leading 66-64, and Parker’s two free throws netted a tie at 66.

CVCC had trouble with Louisburg’s backcourt pressure on the inbounds pass and turned the ball over with nine seconds left in regulation.

The Hurricanes held for a final shot, which was taken by Taylor with two seconds left from about 18 feet. CVCC’s Jillyan Mur­ray leaped and blocked the shot to force overtime.

Louisburg led twice in overtime — at 68-66 and 70-68 — but after Murray tied it 70-all and Sweezy made two free throws with 1:04 to go, the Bucs led 72-70 and did not trail again.

CVCC got a big basket from Gibbs with 36 sec­onds left on a backdoor cut and assist from Ca­bral, making it 74-70, and Sweezy hit one of two free throws with 12 seconds left to close the scoring.

“This was a big game and was a true test for us this year,” Gibbs said. “Every game we’ve played has led us to this point and helped build us to get here.”

The backdoor cut in the closing seconds is one Gibbs says she will remem­ber for a while.

“I cut through and (Ca­bral) got me the ball,” said Gibbs. “And with the angle I shot, I was just praying it would go through. When I saw it in the net I was just saying ‘Thank you, Jesus,”.

Louisburg led by as many as six in the first half before taking a 31-27 halftime lead.

Gibbs led the Bucs with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Jones had 20 points, Cabral tossed in 14 points and Sweezy added 11 points.

ROBERT C. REED / FOR THE RECORD

“The kids just didn’t give up,” Edwards said. “We got down by 12 or 13 there at one time and we took a timeout and told them that we didn’t get behind in one shot and we’re not going to get back in the lead in one shot.

“We’ve just got to play it one possession at a time and we did that. We just hit some big shots and were able to get the win.”

Parker and Courtney Rai­ford led Louisburg with 14 points each and Taylor added 12 points.