GATE CITY — A blowout turned into a nail-biter Tuesday night in the Region D, Division 2 girls basketball quarterfinals.
Homestanding Gate City had a 16-point lead, 53-37, with 7:11 to go in the game and appeared to be in complete control.
Four 3-pointers in row by Lee High showed the Lady Generals still had some life left. Their 14-4 run cut the deficit to six points with 4:40 showing on the clock.
That’s when the Lady Blue Devils dug deep, and they pulled out the 66-55 win.
“This time of year, it’s survive and advance,” said Gate City coach Kelly Houseright. “You have to do whatever it takes to win in postseason.”
Gate City (14-11) will take on Grundy (22-4) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Castlewood in the regional semifinals. The Lady Golden Wave upended Union 62-53 to advance.
Just last week, Gate City was in a fight for its life against Lee in the Clinch Mountain District semifinals. The Lady Blue Devils prevailed 64-63 — and learned a valuable lesson.
“Coach told us before the game about being ready to play,” said Gate City’s Jordan Gose. “We knew Lee would make a run at us at some point. They gave us a good game again.”
The Lady Blue Devils led 17-10 after the first quarter and, with three treys of their own in the second quarter, one by Megan Edwards and two by Katie Potts, increased the lead to 36-24 at the half.
That 12-point cushion remained intact at the end of the third quarter.
Gose stole the ball twice in a span of 30 seconds at the beginning of the final period and converted layups to give her team what appeared to be a comfortable 53-37 lead.
Lee (8-17) answered with two free throws and a 3-pointer by Courtney Tabor, launching the Lady Generals’ into their late charge.
Several costly Gate City turnovers helped fuel Lee’s comeback effort.
“We made too many careless mistakes when we got the big lead,” Houseright said. “We turned it over and they made 3s. That’s how they got back in it so quickly.
“That’s something we need to shore up. We’ve got to be more patient and handle the ball better.”
Gate City’s Rachel Kilgore made a basket with 4:30 remaining to stop the bleeding and put the Lady Devils up 59-51. Gate City followed by making 7 of 8 free throws to preserve the victory.
“We fought back, but we waited too long to get anything going,” said Lee coach Mike Elkins. “Give Gate City credit, they stepped up and outplayed us.”
Morgan Gose led Gate City with 18 points and seven rebounds. Jordan Gose had 17 points and 11 boards, Hannah Kilgore grabbed six rebounds and Potts added 12 points off the bench.
“We were more focused tonight, and we stepped it up on defense,” Potts said. “That was the key.”
Tabor led Lee with 16 points, Kelsey Skaggs scored 14 and Samantha Ely had 10.