Kianna McElroy doesn’t score a whole lot.
In fact, she had gone the entire game and only had one field goal attempt Tuesday night.
But the Northeast junior hit the game-winner as she rebounded a missed free throw with 37 seconds left and hit the shot as she was falling down to give the Raiderettes a 39-38 win over Lamar County.
“After I got the rebound, I knew I was going to shoot the ball,” said McElroy, who was starting for only the second time in her career. “When I was shooting, I was kind of falling down, so it was really half shot and half throw. It was a great feeling when it went in. It was no doubt the biggest shot I have ever made.”
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Lamar County, which entered the game with a 3-13 record, gave Northeast all it could handle. The Lady Trojans forced 20 first-half turnovers but still trailed by one, thanks to Jerryshia Williams, who scored 10 of the Raiderettes’ 18 first-half points. Northeast was able to stay in the game with good defense and a 21-10 rebounding edge.
The teams were tied at 29 after three quarters, and the biggest lead either team could muster in the fourth quarter was three when Williams scored inside and added the free throw to give Northeast a 32-29 lead. The Lady Trojans would not go away and took a one point lead at 38-37 with 57 seconds left on a three-point play by Kenji Sullivan. That set up McElroy’s heroics, and Northeast survived two good looks inside by Lamar County in the final 10 seconds to win their 12th game of the year.
“Poor,” Northeast head coach Cynthia Booker said about her team’s performance. “I did not feel like we would struggle like we struggled, and we just did not play well at all in the first half. We turned the ball over way too much, and we didn’t hit many shots, and we just really weren’t into the game.
Williams led Northeast with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Lamar County head coach Nina Shannon’s team was led by Aja Johnson with 13 points.
“We are a very young team who just has to learn how to win close games,” Shannon said. “The effort was there. We just have to learn how to finish games.
Lamar County took the boys game 60-53 behind 15 points from Qua Searcy and 11 from Maurice Bloodser to improve to 10-6 overall and 7-2 in the region. Northeast was led by Teonte Bond, who had a game-high 20 points. Northeast dropped to 8-9 and 5-4 in the region.