By Eleanor Guinan
No one feared the Lady Indians were going to lose Friday night. The odds were with them. Latta Lady Panthers weren’t ranked, they had an extra day to prepare because of bad weather, and the Lady Indians are a good team, no doubt. However, Latta put up an unexpected fight from start to finish that made this game a great one.
The fight started when Latta got the ball first and scored first. But our girls fought right back, scoring one free-throw to get on the board. The game went on and the intensity continued, even coach David Doss was getting pumped up, high fiving the girls on the bench. With all the pressure and the loud Latta cheerleaders, the girls couldn’t get locked in like they always do. The end of the first period was a close one. Senior Tabitha Armstrong stole the ball which lead to other senior Gracee Bates to score two to put Navajo ahead by 8-7 at the end of the first.
The first score of the second period was a big one. After an offensive toss, Bates sunk in a three pointer to give a spark to her team. However, Latta was still giving them a hard time and wouldn’t back down. Then, towards the end of the second period, it clicked. Armstrong rebounded the ball for two, and with twenty seconds to go, junior Kalee Cross shot in three to give the score of 20-15 Lady Indians to finish off the first half of the game.
Putting pressure on the defense is important, whether it is scoring threes or pushing your way through the middle to score a layup. In senior Emmy Cobb’s case, it was shooting a three to begin the third period. Although the girls were beginning to look more like themselves in this period, the Latta Panthers actually scored two more two then Navajo, but this shows that the Lady Indians had rock hard defense like they always do. The ending score was 27-24 Navajo.
In this last period, the gym was fired up, it’s been a close game but there was only going to be one winner. The fourth started off with a turnover in Navajos favor and that really sparked up the game. The pressure and intensity was on that Friday night and when Armstrong again stole to land Cross to score three it grew even more. Even though there was three minutes left in the game, it felt like there was only ten seconds left. Navajos defense would not let Latta score anymore in those three minutes and Cross gave Navajo the last two points with free throws. The final score was 43-31 Lady Indians.
When that buzzer sounded and the Lady Indians officially won, you could feel the accomplished feeling they had, it was special. They can not sit back and relax yet, they now go to the Championship Round on Monday against Hollis, whom they beat 75-67 on February 9th. They know it is not going to be easy, but they are going to put in the hard work to bring home that gold ball trophy.