It was the momentum boost that the Parklane girls needed as they prepare for the conference tournament this week. The Pioneers capped-off their regular season with a dramatic 57-53 home win Friday over Copiah Academy.
The drama came from leading scorer Liberty Gillihan as the sophomore nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer tying the game and sending it to overtime. It was then when key free throws from her, big 3-pointers from Gigi Lindsey and Haven Hollis and tough defense helped the Pioneers seal the win.
“It was a lot of emotion,” said Gillihan, who finished with 18 points. “We really played hard the whole game. My main focus was do it for your team, do it for the seniors and just go out there and do what I came to do.”
While Gillihan’s shot provided hope for Parklane at a time when the Pioneers needed a boost, the hosts struggled early on. The Colonels grabbed a 7-1 lead taking advantage of Hollis having to sit early with foul trouble.
With Hollis on the bench for some time, it gave a chance for Abby Pounds to capitalize. Pounds played tough defense in the paint and provided a free throw and basket helping to pace her team. However, Copiah found more consistency, taking a 13-10 lead.
In the second quarter, the Pioneers’ defense shined and held the Colonels to just four points in the period. Meanwhile, Parklane’s offense got into a groove from 3-point range. Makes from Gillihan, Emme Wallace and Alexis Tran were part of a 17-point effort that gave Parklane a 27-17 advantage.
Gillihan put the team on her back in the third, scoring seven of her team’s 10 points in the quarter helping the Pioneers maintain a nine-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Both teams continued to battle in the fourth with the Colonels going on a run to close the gap before taking a 43-40 lead with just under :30 to go. At the :16 mark, Tran nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game before Copiah answered with a long shot of its own, a 3 from Claire Davis with 5.9 seconds to go.
Without hesitation, Gillihan got the ball and hoisted it up from the wing before sinking the shot, bringing the crowd to its feet and sending the game into overtime.
The Pioneers fought hard in the extra period, getting a mixture of tough defense with key shots before pulling out the win.
“I thought that the girls fought in all four quarters and overtime as well,” Parklane head coach Josh Bass said. “I thought that Copiah hit some big shots as well. Their girls fought really hard. I am jut proud of my girls for getting the win tonight.”
PA boys lose to Copiah
The Parklane boys were looking to avenge a road loss to Copiah earlier in the week by reversing roles in Friday’s regular season finale at home. However, the Colonels weren’t having any of it getting 18 points from John Jenkins and handing the Pioneers a 53-48 loss.
“It wasn’t a lack of effort,” said Bass who also coaches the boys team. “We just missed some shots, and they made some big shots right down the stretch. They executed good and gave us trouble on the defensive end. We fell short.”
Jacob Gazzo was once again the leading scorer with 21 points for the Pioneers. Like the girls, the boys fell behind 7-1 early before their offense began to pick up steam. Down 12-4, Parklane fired off a 6-0 run to pull within striking distance.
In the second quarter, Jay Long connected on a 3-pointer to pull within four. Less than three minutes later, the Pioneers took their first lead of the game following a layup by Bert Passman, making the score 28-27.
The Pioneers maintained a lead at half and through the third quarter, entering the fourth with a 40-32 advantage.
However in the fourth, the Parklane offense went cold while Jenkins and the Colonels began heating up. The Pioneers could not slow down Jenkins who scored nine points in the fourth helping Copiah regain the lead. Parklane continued to fight, but could not close it out in the end.