Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Overton girls battle to defeat Southwind

image and story from

Overton's Cornelia Fondren (left) grabs a loose ball away from Southwind's Jasmine McAllister during the second quarter of Tuesday night's game.

Tuesday's girls basketball game between Overton and Southwind started off as a pillow fight.

But -- as Cornelia Fondren's bloodied lower lip showed -- it ended up being a dogfight.

Fondren's Wolverines built a big early lead, then held on to defeat the host Jaguars, 35-34, in a District 15-AAA showdown.

"We're struggling right now," said Wolverines coach Lynn Smith, whose team is currently playing without suspended inside presence Cortrice Golden. "We miss Cortrice ... it hurts our depth."

Smith said Golden, a skilled 6-1 senior, will be back at some point in the season. And Tuesday, Overton (10-2, 3-1) welcomed back Fondren, who had been serving a suspension of her own in her team's last game, a loss to Germantown on Friday.

"We have to play with or without Cortrice," said Fondren, who scored 10 points Tuesday. "We have to keep playing, be ready for anything."

Second-ranked Overton started fast, taking a 17-3 lead at the end of the first quarter -- and leaving the fourth-ranked Jaguars looking discombobulated.

Southwind trailed at the half, 24-12.

"There were times when I said 'what are we doing out there?'" said Southwind coach Stan Gatlin, whose team's 13-game winning streak ended. "We got ourselves in a huge hole."

But the Jaguars gradually started digging their way out, behind the play of Bianca Cage (team-high 14 points) and Amber Holmes, who scored nine of her 11 in the second half.

Southwind held Overton to four points in the third quarter and got to within one (30-29) on Cage's 3-pointer midway through the fourth.

But Overton responded with a 3-pointer from Kelsey Briggs (15 points) to make it 33-29.

"We let our confidence drop a little bit," said Fondren. "The coaches just kept telling us to keep our heads up."

Cage scored on a follow to make it 35-34 with 39 seconds left and was fouled too, but she missed the free throw.

Fondren traveled on the next possession setting the stage for a possible Southwind victory.

But Cage missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key -- "not the shot we wanted," said Gatlin -- and Overton hung on.

"I'm proud that we didn't lay down," said Gatlin. "We could have easily lost by 30 to a very good team."

In other girls games

Whitehaven ran its record to 14-1, beating White Station 58-45 as Lytia Coleman scored 22. ... Odegua Oigbokie scored 18 points as Ridgeway improved to 4-0 in District 15-AAA with a 50-39 victory over Houston.

Brynn Holden scored 14 points as Briarcrest improved to 14-3 on the season with a 65-36 victory over Millington. ... Freshman Kaylan Pugh, the leading scorer in the city, poured in 30 points to lead St. Mary's to a 57-43 victory over Catholic.

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