The third time was a charm for the Williston-Elko High girls varsity basketball team Friday night in the Hawks' Nest.
After splitting victories with in-county rival Blackville-Hilda High in its first two meetings, Williston-Elko High got the one that mattered the most with a 54-44 victory in the rubber match.
Through the three quarters, the game was a back and forth affair with multiple momentum swings. At the start of the fourth quarter, however, the Lady Blue Devils turned a 35-33 lead into a 50-41 advantage with 1:28 left to play.
With the win, Williston-Elko High improves to 6-8 overall and 4-4 in region play.
Williston-Elko High coach Eva Strong said the team came on strong in the second half.
"In the first half, we struggled on both ends of the court," Strong said.
"In the second half, we played with consistency. Offensively, we ran the court well and took care of the ball. Defensively, we did a good job of pressing and rebounding."
For Blackville-Hilda High, the loss drops the team to 7-6 overall and 4-4 in region play.
Blackville-Hilda High coach William Hammond said his team lost the game at the free throw line.
"We went 12 of 26 from the free throw line tonight. You can't do that in close ball games and expect to win," Hammond said.
At the start of the contest both teams sputtered offensively.
The Lady Blue Devils, who went nearly three minutes without a basket, connected on three of 12 shots for eight points in the quarter.
The Lady Hawks were somewhat better. Laporchia Roundtree's three-pointer at the 4:02 mark of the opening quarter was one of four shots made in 11 tries by the team.
In the second quarter, the pace started to pick up with Lady Hawks leading 12-10 with 4:43 left in the first half.
The Lady Blue Devils began to heat up offensively. For the Lady Blue Devils, Erial Thomas, Ebony Corbitt and Zori Green all made baskets to tie the score at 16-16.
Moments later after a basket by Blackville-Hilda's Tyesha Clark, Williston-Elko drew even again on a putback by Ebony Corbitt for a 20-20 tie with 1:28 left in the first half.
"Ebony had a really big game for us on the boards as well as shooting tonight," Strong said. "She also did a good job of getting her teammates involved in the offense."
In the third quarter, the seesaw battle continued. For the Lady Hawks, Clark went baseline and scored on a jumper.
Moments later, the Lady Hawks converted in transition with Clark passing to Latoya Roundtree inside for a layup.
On the other end of the court, the Lady Blue Devils answered.
Ashley Williamson lobbed a pass inside to Corbitt, who scored on a short jumper. After a steal by Thomas, Keke Parker drilled a three-pointer for a 33-29 lead.
Leading 42-37 with 4:29 left to play, the Lady Blue Devils started to pull away from the Lady Hawks.
Over the next three minutes the Lady Blue Devils would go on a 8-3 run with Corbitt, Green, Williamson, Thomas and Octavia Mack all scoring baskets for a 50-41 lead with 1:04 left to play.
The Lady Blue Devils went on to finish the four of five from the free throw line to secure the game.
For the game, Corbitt led all scorers with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Ashley Williamson had 12 points and nine rebounds. Mack tallied six points and Thomas finished with five points.
For the Lady Hawks, Clark led with 17 points, including a three-pointer. Taylor Brown had a good all- around game with nine points, seven steals and four assists. Roundtree contributed seven points and 11 rebounds.
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