Survive and advance

Feb. 25, 2014 @ 11:24 AM

The South Caldwell girls’ basketball team survived a late rally by the Southeast Guilford Falcons as the Spartans hung on for a 69-66 victory in the first round of the 4A state playoffs on Monday in Sawmills.

“I was proud of the fight we showed there in the first half,” South head coach Jeff Parham said. “Anna Lee (Bollinger) hit a big shot to put us ahead at the half. I really thought that was a turn in the game.

“We built a lead in the third quarter and that helped,” said Parham. “The fourth quarter we had few too many turnovers and missed a couple free throws, but we found a way to get it done. It was a good team win.”

With the win, No. 8 South Caldwell advances to the second round of the 4A state playoffs to host No. 9 Mount Tabor on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Mount Tabor advanced with a 57-56 victory over No. 24 Mallard Creek.

The Spartans entered the fourth quarter up 10 and quickly extended their lead to 59-43 on eight points by Caleigh Raby. However, Breana Hardnett knocked scored the next five to cut the deficit to 59-48. Just 90 seconds later, the Flacons had trimmed the South lead to 61-55 with 4:01 to play. Then with 2:45 to play, Yasmin Martin scored to make it a three-point play. The Spartans followed up with crucial free throws in the final minute. The Falcons had a chance to tie it, but a half court buzzer-beater hit nothing but the backboard to end the game.

In the first half of the game, it was Bollinger with the hot hand for South. She shot 4-4 from behind the arc on her way to 12 points in the first half. One of her triples came in the closing seconds of the half to put South ahead 28-27 at the break.

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Courtney Wood also added seven points in the half for the Spartans.

In the third quarter, Raby caught fire. She scored nine points in the first 3:30 of the second half including a three. She had 12 points in the quarter. Raby then hit two more triples on her way to 11 points in the fourth quarter. She finished with a game-high 29 points.

“She’s (Raby) a fine young lady and we needed her to step up,” Parham said. “She hit some big shots for us there in the second half and really answered the call.”

Bollinger added six points in the third and hit two crucial free throws with under one minute to play in the game. She finished with 20 points on the night. Wood added 14 points for South, while Blake Gosnell and Mikayla Everhart contributed with five and one respectively.

Southeast Guilford was led by Phifer’s 20 points and Hardnett added 19. Katie Lewis finished with 17 and Martin had 10.

NO. 25 SOUTHEAST GUILFORD^14 ^13 ^14 ^25—66

NO. 8 SOUTH CALDWELL^13 ^15 ^23 ^18—69

Southeast Guilford: Kayla Phifer 20, Breana Hardnett 19, Katie Lewis 17, Yasmin Martin 10, Jewel Tinsley, Teara Johnson, Emily Bray, Erin Bradley, Kimberly Flippin, Erin Jeffers. South Caldwell: Caleigh Raby 29, Anna Lee Bollinger 20, Courtney Wood 14, Blake Gosnell 5, Mikayla Everhart 1, Sydney Lockhart, Lacey Annas.