WEST – The Italy Lady Gladiators (18-11) beat the Bosqueville Lady Bulldogs (10-17) Monday night 47-44 in bi-district playoff action.
“Our girls handled the pressure so well tonight,” said head coach Stacy McDonald. “Every one of our players stepped up when we needed them to. They followed our game plan to a tee and it paid off. Coach Richards and I felt it was important to lead the girls in a spirit filled program this year so that is what we did. I am so proud of them on and off the court.”
Italy went on an eight-point run and held Bosqueville scoreless for the first three minutes of the quarter.
At the end of the first, Italy had a comfortable 14-7 lead. In the second quarter, the Lady Bulldogs turned up the heat on defense, causing several turnovers. Their offense capitalized and outscored Italy 9-6 in the second period to cut the Gladiator lead 20-16.
The third quarter was a see saw battle on the court. Alannah Domangue gave Bosqueville their first lead in the game with 4:35 remaining ing in the period. A Jimesha Reed lay up tied the game at 26.
With 30 seconds on the clock, Italy’s Kaitlyn Rossa tied the game at 32 with a baseline jumper. The game momentum shifted back to Italy when Rossa pulled off a three point play with 3.9 seconds left in the quarter. When Rossa dropped one in from under the basket, she was fouled by Ciarra Williams. Rossa’s successful charity shot gave the Lady Gladiators a 35-32 lead heading into the final period.
Italy and Bosqueville traded baskets for the first half of the final period. The Italy defense stepped up its intensity, determined to bring home the victory. Steals by Jameka Copeland, Brianna Burkhalter and Jaleecia Fleeming kept the ball away from the Bulldog shooters.
With 43 ticks on the clock, the Lady Bulldogs pulled within one. A key steal by Jimesha Reed gave Italy the ball back.
While driving down court, Jameka Copeland was fouled by Mary Hanks. Coach McDonald called time out with 11 seconds remaining to share strategy with her team. When play resumed, Copeland sank both free throws and sealed the 47-44 win.
Scoring for Italy were Rossa 17, Jameka Copeland 10, Jimesha Reed 8, Jaleecia Fleming 5, Alyssa Richards 4 and Megan Richards 3.
Italy will play Mason on Friday at 7 p.m. in Hamilton for the area championship.