Trailing by two and saddled with foul trouble entering the fourth quarter, the Bridge City Lady Cardinals dug down deep and turned back the West Columbia Lady Roughnecks 55-51 in the area round of the Class 3A Region III playoffs.
The Lady Cardinals (32-5) had four starters with four fouls heading into the final eight minutes but instead of getting in a panic, they simply outplayed the Lady Roughnecks (24-8) down the backstretch, outscoring them 15-9.
“I’m just so thrilled for our kids and they definitely earned it against a tough team tonight,” said BC coach Jennifer Willis. “We may have been down, but our kids believe they are never out and they came up huge in the fourth quarter.”
The Lady Cardinals will now face Sweeny in the regional quarterfinals.
Trailing 42-40 entering the fourth, Lady Cardinal Alexus Henry, who terrorized Columbia throughout the night with a game-high 26 points, knotted the game at 42-42 with 5:28 remaining with a slashing drive to the basket. Crissy Fiffie scored for the Roughnecks at the 5:20 mark and that was the last lead that WC would have.
A Kasey Frederick jumper just inside the free-throw line tied it back up with 3:51 left.
Then, BC post Kelsey Fults took over. Fults, who was saddled with foul trouble early in the first half, responded with eight big points in the final quarter and finished with 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
She put the Lady Cards up 46-44 with a powerful move inside and her free-throw with 3:01 left made it 47-44.
Another outstanding drive by Henry made it 49-45 with 2:10 on the clock.
WC trimmed it to 49-47 as post Dajinique Harris scored inside. Harris had a big night, scoring 13 points while yanking down 17 rebounds.
Fiffie tightened things up by converting 2-of-3 free-throws to pull WC within 50-49 with 0:42 left.
Fults scored inside again to make it 52-49 but WC guard Malnisha Burton hit a jumper with 0:16 to make it a one-point game again.