With Cherokee trailing 35-30 with 4:55 to go in the contest, Mataylin Goins hit a 3-pointer to narrow the deficit to two points. Russell was fouled the next time she touched the ball and went to the charity stripe for a one-plus-one. She made both and on the second attempt was butted off the line by a Lady Pioneers defender.
A foul was called with no time having run off the clock. Crockett coach Tony Gordon disagreed with the call and received a technical for his complaint. After Russell hit both technical free throws, she stole the inbounds pass and was immediately fouled. Again she hit both her free-throw attempts and, with only a second burned off the clock, Cherokee found itself on top 39-35.
“No, I have not,” Russell joked when asked if she had ever scored six points in a second before. “We had the game under control earlier and let it get away from us.”
The Lady Chiefs (13-5, 3-2) led 20-12 with two minutes left in the half only to see Crockett (7-10, 2-3) outscore them 23-10 to move on top 35-30 with under five minutes to go in the game.
“Harper’s free throws late were definitely a big swing for us,” said Cherokee coach Jason Lawson. “This was what I’d call a good team win.”
Gordon felt his young Lady Pioneers, who have nine sophomores on the squad, let one slip away.
“This is all part of the building process,” he said. “Sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed. But this one hurts.”
Russell finished with a game-high 23 points. Emma Gouge led Crockett with 11 points and Halle Scott added 10.
CROCKETT BOYS DIAL LONG DISTANCE
In the boys’ game, Crockett rained down 3-pointers all over Cherokee in a 76-53 win. Led by Mason Britton’s six, the Pioneers totaled 11 treys and led by as many as 26 points.
“Our kids made the extra pass and found the open shooters,” said Crockett coach John Good. “Tonight, they saw that you can’t cheat the game, you have to come out and play.”
Britton and Mack Hensley led the Pioneers (6-13, 2-4) with 20 points apiece. John Kollie had 13.
“They shot us out of our zone,” said Cherokee coach Ty Webb. “We knew our man-to-man didn’t match up well with them.”
Ryan Bledsoe had a game-high 23 points for the Chiefs (4-15, 0-5).