Such was the case Friday at the Buck Van Huss Dome as Dobyns-Bennett’s Lady Indians slammed the door on Tennessee High’s second-half rally, leaving the Big 9 Conference title chase wide open.
Holly France hit a clutch 3-pointer with a little more than a minute left to push D-B’s lead to four points and Megan Devine hit several clutch free throws in the final 60 seconds to preserve the Tribe’s 59-55 win over the Lady Vikings.
The victory moves both Science Hill and D-B to within a game of the conference-leading Lady Vikings in the loss column as the teams enter the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Tribe held a double-digit lead for much of the first half before taking a six-point advantage to the locker room at halftime, but D-B coach Roger France had a feeling the game would be decided in the final seconds.
“They’re a great team and we knew they weren’t going to go away,” he said. “It could have gone either way at the end, but our kids just buckled down.”
Danielle Montgomery led Tennessee High’s second-half surge, scoring 15 of her game-high 19 points in the final two quarters.
But D-B limited itself to just 12 turnovers against Tennessee High’s pressure defense and came up with several key plays during crunch time.
The Lady Vikings pulled within a single point late in the fourth quarter before Holly France knocked down a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner.
Devine hit a handful of foul shots from there, including the pair of free tosses that iced the game away with three seconds left.
While D-B knocked down key foul shots, Tennessee High struggled from the line, making just 8 of 19 attempts.
“D-B played a good game,” Tennessee High coach Kim Bright said. “We knew we were going to get their best, and they deserved to win.
“We’re going to bounce back and use this to get better.”
D-B’s size advantage was a huge key to the win — the 5-foot-11 Devine finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds while the 6-foot Blaine Frohlich added 18 points and nine boards for the Tribe (15-6, 9-3).
Sarah Baker added 14 points for the Lady Vikings (17-7, 11-2) while Kendra Snapp chipped in nine.
In the boys’ game, it took the Indians awhile to solve Tennessee High’s 2-3 zone, but the Tribe eventually rolled to a 59-43 victory.
D-B built a 10-point lead in the first half and pushed the advantage to 20 early in the fourth quarter on a Justin Sylvester steal and layup.
Tribe coach Charlie Morgan said once his team started attacking the Vikings’ defense, good things happened.
“It took us awhile to do that — we stood around in the first half against that zone,” he said. “But we did a better job in the second half.”
Sylvester and Jamel Williams teamed up to slice and dice their way through the defense, drawing fouls and putting points on the board in the process.
Sylvester led the way for the Tribe (19-2, 12-0) with 16 points while Williams added 15.
Thomas Turnbull scored 11 to pace Tennessee High (13-10, 7-6) while Corey Young added 10.