Lady Bears fall to Wheatley on buzzer-beater
By Ronnie Hughes
HUFFMAN — It was one of those, you had to be there moments, during the 4A area playoff between the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears and Houston Wheatley Lady Wildcats Friday night. A game full of thrilling shots, gritty play and a rowdy crowd would come down to a final second shot by Wheatley senior, Eryka Sidney, that she would sink for a 53-51 win that ended the Lady Bears post season run. Sidney led a dominating performance with 31 points, six steals and six assist.
LC-M senior Sheridan Rogers picked up right where she left off in the bi-district round.
She got the Lady Bears on the board early with a rebound and put back. Rogers was once again too much for the competition to handle around the rim. The Lady Bears seemed flustered early by the raucous Wheatley crowd, but was able to keep things close despite early miscues.
Sidney posed the biggest threat for the Bears as she was able to hit from anywhere on the floor and they had no answer for her style of play. Sidney Scored all 14 first quarter points for the Lady Wildcats to lead the Lady Bears 14-11. Alia Brown helped keep things close attacking the basket for the Lady Bears and hitting a crucial three as time expired in the first.
Houston Wheatley opened the second quarter pressing LC-M, forcing turnovers and penalties.
The Lady Bears were able to hang around with Sidney missing key shots for Wheatley and overlooking open teammates. Grace Chen came alive in the second for the Bears to give some much needed defense as she picked up a steal and went the distance for the first points of the quarter and cut the Lady Wildcat lead to just one point. However, the swing in momentum was short-lived. Sidney again would get hot and hit her fourth three pointer of the game to lead, 17-13 and followed that up with a reverse layup all part of a 9-0 run. Following a Lady Bear timeout, Brown, hit a three of her own to quiet the Wheatley crowd momentarily. Rogers grabbed a final four points for the Lady Bears to end the first half down just, 30-26.
Rogers final game of her LC-M career was again impressive with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
The Lady Bear defense began to lock down Sidney in the second half holding the hot-handed shooter scoreless through the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Wheatley was forced to lean on other offensive players. Both squads swapped missed buckets and turnovers early and often in the third, but it would be Renna Toomey for LC-M that swiped two balls and scored back-to-back to give the Lady Bears momentum.
Chen slipped a layup in as time expired to cut the Lady Wildcat lead to just three points, 39-36, after the third quarter.
Both sides of the gym were on their feet as the fourth quarter go under way.
Sidney sparked a quick 6-0 run by the Lady Wildcats, but Robyn Steen shifted the momentum with a steal and lay-up over two Wildcat defenders. Lady Bears began to capitalize on Wheatley turnovers and fouls and but the lead to just four points, 45-41 with just under five minutes remaining. Brown hit two huge free throws for LC-M with the Wheatley crowd taunting her. It was Chen that turned up her play hitting six consecutive points and went toe to toe with Sidney for the final three minutes of play.
Kaitlin McCallon got involved around the basket with Rogers as she grabbed a rebound and put it back to tie the game at 51. The Lady Wildcats would foul Brown with just 14 seconds left in regulation and with the pressure on she missed both free-throw shots. Wheatley called a timeout following the missed shots and one could tell right away they wanted the ball in the hands of Eryka Sidney.
Chen played stellar defense with Steen stepping in to double team Sidney, but as time expired Sidney pulled up from about ten feet out and hit nothing but net to crush the hopes of the Lady Bears of advancing to the next round of the playoffs. Chen notched 12 points and six rebounds on the night with teammate McCallon chipped in 7 points 8 rebounds.