BEAR CREEK — After Uwharrie Charter Academy rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit to seize a 40-39 advantage with 3:05 left in the contest, Chatham Central’s Olivia Hudson buried a jumper …
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BEAR CREEK — After Uwharrie Charter Academy rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit to seize a 40-39 advantage with 3:05 left in the contest, Chatham Central’s Olivia Hudson buried a jumper off the right baseline with 1:17 to play to give her team the lead for good before the Lady Bears put the game away at the charity stripe while registering a 45-42 Yadkin Valley 1A Conference victory in Gerald L. Binkley Gymnasium Saturday afternoon in the regular-season finale for both schools.
The outcome left both teams tied for third place in the final league standings with an identical 11-5 record against conference opponents, with Chatham Central drawing the higher seed for next week’s YVC tournament. The Lady Bears, who improved to 13-10 for the year, will host Albemarle Monday night in first-round tourney action, while the Lady Eagles, who posted their first winning season in seven years of existence, fell to 15-8 overall and will host North Stanly the same evening.
Mary Grace Murchison led the victors with 17 points and Danielle Vaughn chipped in 12 as Chatham Central shot 37 percent (14-of-38) from the floor while turning the ball over 23 times.
Kristen Jensen tallied 10 points for Uwharrie Charter, while Natalie Beeson and Mia Leonard finished with nine apiece. The Lady Eagles connected on 29 percent (14-of-49) of their field goal attempts and held a 28-21 advantage in rebounding while committing 19 turnovers.
“We were able to score this afternoon when we ran our offense the way it’s intended to go, especially in the second quarter, but at times when we went rogue we didn’t do so well,” remarked Lady Bears’ coach Lynda Burke. “Defensively we did a good job stopping Uwharrie’s penetration inside and limited their kick-outs for perimeter shots. We rebounded well most of the game except when they picked up their defense in the second half and made their late run at us.”
Lady Eagles’ coach Austin Davis stated his team knew the implications of playing for third place this afternoon, but noted his squad was a bit worn out playing its fourth game in five days.
“I thought we started off well before Chatham Central got hot in the second quarter and opened up a double-digit advantage,” said Davis. “We came out and played harder the second half and made a nice comeback to take a brief lead before we lost our composure and made some costly turnovers, while they hit some big free throws down the stretch to hold us off.”
Leonard’s three-pointer from the right corner capped off an 11-3 start for Uwharrie Charter before the Lady Bears rallied to pull even at 13-all following Vaughn’s trey from the left wing with eight seconds to go in the initial period.
After a pair of Bre Brooks free throws to begin the second stanza put the Lady Eagles back in front by two, Chatham Central launched a 12-0 run, fueled by three-pointers from Murchison and Kailey Green, to forge a commanding 25-15 advantage with 2:17 remaining in the quarter prior to Leonard’s trey from the right corner with 28 seconds left in the frame that narrowed the gap to 28-22 at halftime.
Following a put-back in the lane by Eliana Phillips that allowed the Lady Bears to construct their biggest lead of the game at 35-23 with 3:09 left in the third period, Uwharrie Charter closed out the stanza with a 7-0 burst to trim its deficit to five entering the final eight minutes.
The visitors from Asheboro then proceeded to stun their host by outscoring Chatham Central 10-4 over the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to claim a one-point advantage before Hudson’s clutch basket put the Lady Bears ahead to stay, and they finally managed to sew up their triumph when Vaughn and Murchison canned both ends of one-and-one opportunities over the last 24 seconds to offset a lane put-back by Brooks in the closing moments.