Jerryshia Williams knew it was time to get going.
The Northeast senior had seen Southwest take a three-point lead by outscoring the Raiderettes by 10 in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.
That was as close to a win as Southwest was going to get.
Williams scored the final five points of the game and led a defense that held the Lady Patriots scoreless for the final four minutes as the Raiderettes won 43-41. Williams led all scorers with 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
“My team was looking at me, and I felt like I was letting them down,” said Williams, who scored only four points in the first 12 minutes of the second half. “We knew that we needed to pick up the intensity on the defensive side of the ball because that’s how we score points. We had to make something good happen, and thankfully we were able to do that.”
Northeast dominated a cold shooting Lady Patriots team in the first half and grabbed a 23-12 lead behind Williams’ 14 points. Southwest hit only 5-of-23 field goals in the first half but kept the game respectable by forcing 17 Northeast turnovers.
Southwest’s Alexia Pennimon was dominant at times as she scored all 11 of her points in the second half to go along with 12 rebounds. The Lady Patriots managed to cut the Northeast lead to 38-31 at the end of the third quarter and kept the momentum in the fourth. They tied the score at 38 on a Jasmine Askew free throw, and Southwest then got a basket and a free throw from Shakenya Peters for the three-point lead with 3:45 to play, prompting Northeast head coach Cynthia Booker to call a timeout.
“I can’t tell you everything I said at the timeout, because I was not real happy at the time,” said Booker, whose team improves to 10-4 and 5-1 in GHSA Region 4-AA. “I just felt like we were not playing our best basketball, and I reminded them to pick up the defense. We want everyone involved with our offense, but it was time for Jerryshia to get some shots.”
Daneisha Willis led Southwest with 13 points
The boys game was not as close as Northeast rolled to a 79-60 win. The Raiders took a 49-34 lead at the half and never looked back. Santez Kinder led the way for Northeast with 17 while Tabias Tinsley had 16. Southwest got a game-high 20 points from Brantavious Morgan.