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Bulletin: Never count ’em out

January 20, 2013

PHCC’s 31-point comeback falls short to Louisburg

By MARK THOMPSON – Bulletin Sports Editor | Sunday, January 20, 2013
PHCC's Courtney Cayard had 15 points and four 3-pointers in the Lady Patriots loss on Saturday.

PHCC’s Courtney Cayard had 15 points and four 3-pointers in the Lady Patriots loss on Saturday.

Before Brian Henderson answered questions following his team’s 84-81 home loss to No. 2 Louisburg Colleg (N.C.) on Saturday, he had a few questions of his own.

“Did you count us out? Where you one of them?” the Patrick Henry Community College women’s basketball coach asked.

There’s no way of knowing just how many people watching the game at Stone Hall on Saturday expected the Patriots to come back from a 31-point deficit in the second half.

Here’s what is known — Henderson and his team never counted themselves out.

“I’ve never had any other game, practice or anything that I’ve been as proud of as today,” Henderson said. “The girls showed some resolve. Down 30 points in the second half, and free throws? We only lost because of free throws to the No. 2 team in the nation? That’s amazing.”

No. 19 PHCC (8-4) shot 19-for-31 from the charity stripe, which Henderson said was poor for the Patriots — especially at home.

Louisburg head coach Brett Vana said some of his starters struggled with foul trouble in the second half. Vana lost Justin Taylor in the second half with a knee injury. She led all scorers when she left with 16 points. Louisburg also lost starting guard Courtney Raiford to a flagrant-two foul for fighting.

Vana was displeased with the call, especially because it was called on Raiford, alone.

“All I know is it was started by the other team,” Vana said. “Anybody in the stands could see that. If you’re going to dismiss than you dismiss both ways. You don’t just go one-sided like that.”

The flagrant was initially given to Hurricanes guard Olivia Gaines, who led her team in scoring at the time with eight points. Officials realized soon after that Raiford was the player from Louisburg involved.

“We still weathered the storm,” Vana said. “At the end of the day, we always say when you’re on the road, you’ve got to be up 20 or 25 to win by one or two, because you never know. … We had players in foul trouble. You’ve got (them) hitting shots and making some deep, deep bombs.”

PHCC certainly took advantage of the 3-point shot in the second-half. The Patriots made nine shots from long range in the final 20 minutes. Courtney Cayard, who finished the game with 15 points, had four of those nine 3’s.

The Patriots had more points from 3-pointers in the second half than they had total points in the first half.

It was all part of a stretch where PHCC battled back from a 62-31 deficit to be within one point at the height of the comeback at 82-81.

And while hitting deep bombs helped get PHCC back in the game, the Patriots’ work on the boards in that stretch was also of great importance.

Throughout the game, Louisburg scored 16 points off of second-chance opportunities and even missed a handful of other putback attempts on the offensive glass.

During PHCC’s comeback, the Patriots limited Louisburg to one shot on most every possession.

“We kept our composure as a team and we blocked out,” Jasmine Griffin said.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Tayana Mullins led PHCC on the boards with 10 rebounds. She had a double-double after dropping 15 points — seven from the free throw line.

But it took a while for PHCC to gain control of the glass.

Louisburg ran an up-tempo offense looking to score quick. The Hurricanes, for example, scored their first two points just three seconds after winning the opening tip.

PHCC eventually adjusted to Louisburg’s offense and kept it close in the first half. The Patriots trailed 31-25 in the first half until the Hurricanes closed the half on a 12-1 run. They then opened the second half on an 11-0 run.

“We called a timeout after the start of that second half and we really emphasized, ‘We have to continue to box out,’” Henderson said.

That’s when PHCC slowly climbed back into the game.

Within about 10 minutes of game time, the Patriots cut their 31-point deficit to 11 points with 5:41 remaining in the game.

The Patriots increased their defensive pressure first to pick up Louisburg at halfcourt, then full court. And with Cayard, Jasmine Rawl and Chelsea White hitting 3-pointers, PHCC continued to chip into the Hurricane lead.

“I felt confident,” Rawl said. “It wasn’t falling in the first half, because I wasn’t feeling it.”

Once PHCC got to within 10 points of Louisburg, the Patriots seemed to gain new life by converting a handful of open-court steals into layups.

“We have faith in each other,” Cayard said. “We trust each other, so we just came back.”

PHCC had two opportunities to tie the game.

First, trailing 82-79 and on an 8-1 run, PHCC guard Shakia Salters stole the ball in the open court and passed it to Cayard in the left corner for 3. Cayards shot missed off the back rim.

Then at the end of the game, PHCC inbounded the ball at halfcourt with 4.4 seconds left.

The Patriots tried to run a back-door screen for Cayard to spot up for 3 on the left side of the court, but Cayard didn’t have time to fight through traffic and Salters was forced to take a contested 3-pointer that she airballed, missing the rim to the right.

“They did a good job of taking (Cayard) away. They fought through every screen so Courtney couldn’t get around that corner in four seconds,” Henderson said. “We’ll take that loss as a coaching staff as a coaching error. We’ll continue to work and get better at that.”

Louisburg led the game from the start and never gave up the lead. Gaines led Louisburg with 21 points. She was 11-for-12 from the free throw line, including the two free throws she hit with 5.3 seconds remaining to stretch the Hurricanes’ lead to three points.

PHCC had no answer for that in the final seconds.

“Today, they did it individually in the second half and they came together as a team, because they saw that finish line,” Henderson said. “Unfortunately we came up short. We’re going to keep working at it and get there.”

Louisburg College … 84

Patrick Henry CC  …. 81

Louisburg College 43 41 — 84

Patrick Henry CC 26 55 — 81

Scoring

Louisburg College (84) — O. Gaines 21, J. Taylor 16, L. Phelps 15, J. Parker 12, A. Spicer 8, T. Johnson 7, A. Baines 3, C. Raiford 2.

PHCC (81) — J. Rawl 18, C. Cayard 15, J. Mullins 15, C. White 11, Z. Stephens 8, S. Salters 8, J. Griffen 6.

Filed under: Women's Basketball

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