The Mount de Sales girls basketball team handed Tattnall Square a region defeat Tuesday night. The Lady Trojans, however, might have lost much more than the game.
With less than a minute remaining in the first half, Ivey Slaughter pulled up with an injury at midcourt after chasing a loose ball. The home crowd audibly gasped as the standout junior clutched her left knee in obvious pain.
Without Tattnall’s linchpin patrolling the lane, Mount de Sales erased a halftime deficit and cruised to a 41-32 victory -- its seventh straight -- and the Lady Cavaliers remain undefeated in GISA Region 2-AAA play.
Slaughter, who scored a team-high 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds, was carried to the training room at the half. Following the game, she was still being evaluated by team physicians. The staff performed a series of tests to try and determine the functionality of her knee, according to Tattnall head coach Todd Whetsel.
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“I didn’t see exactly what happened on the play,” Whetsel said. “I was told that it looked like she hyperextended her knee.”
Whetsel later said team physicians were unable to determine the severity of Slaughter’s injury and that she would be re-evaluated Wednesday.
While Whetsel will have to wait and see if Slaughter misses any time, the Lady Cavaliers (11-4, 4-0) gave him a glimpse in the second half Tuesday of what future games could look like without Slaughter’s presence on the floor.
Trailing 22-19 at the half, Mount de Sales used an 11-4 run coming out of the break to take a lead it never would relinquish. Center Courtney Gilbert, who was held scoreless and landed in foul trouble in the first half trying to contain Slaughter, spurred the turnaround. Gilbert’s back-to-back layups gave the Lady Cavaliers a 27-25 lead midway through the third quarter before fouling out of the game.
Chelsea Veal took Gilbert’s spot and grabbed rebound after rebound at both ends of the court in the fourth quarter to thwart the Lady Trojans’ comeback bid.
“It was a completely new ballgame without (Slaughter) in there,” Mount de Sales head coach Mia Washington said. “She’s such an asset on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. She’s tough to guard and plays so sound in the paint. We were just trying to get position on her in the first half and that caused us to get into foul trouble.”
Maggie Midkiff, who scored a game-high 12 points, said the Lady Cavaliers knew they had to seize the opportunity that presented itself with Slaughter sidelined.
“We couldn’t come out any less aggressive,” Midkiff said. “We had to come out strong and couldn’t let down. We knew we would need to play until the last minute.”
Mount de Sales controlled the second half, never trailing in the final 13 minutes of a game that saw eight first-half lead changes. Blair Smith and Ashlyn Whetsel teamed to try and fill Slaughter’s void for Tattnall. The duo, however, didn’t manage a field goal with its lone points coming on four Smith free throws.
“Ivey’s a dynamic player,” Whetsel said. “Not having her out there (in the second half) was tough. At the same time, I thought we had an opportunity to win the game.
“Mount de Sales just came up with more loose balls in the second half than us. They did what they needed to do. They were the better team in the second half.”
The victory keeps Mount de Sales tied for first place atop the region standings with Arlington Christian.
“The key (to the seven-game winning streak) has been confidence,” Washington said. “We picked up a few wins at home, and it has carried over. Hopefully, the momentum carries through the rest of the region schedule.”
Whetsel said his team has to regroup no matter who lines up to play Friday against Griffin Christian.
“In basketball, the games come fast and furious,” he said. “We have to turn our focus to the next one ... hopefully, with Ivey.”
Tattnall won the boys game 58-39 behind Grayson Brown’s 16 points. Conner Alford and Andrew Layson each added 12 points.
Mount de Sales was led by Stewart Rich’s game-high 17 points.