SILER CITY — With sophomore forward Malea Gerrison pumping in 21 of her game-high 34 points in the second half, Providence Grove battled back from a 12-point second-quarter deficit to grab the lead …
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SILER CITY — With sophomore forward Malea Gerrison pumping in 21 of her game-high 34 points in the second half, Providence Grove battled back from a 12-point second-quarter deficit to grab the lead for good with six-and-a-half minutes to play and held off stubborn Jordan-Matthews down the stretch to capture a 67-61 PAC 7 2A Conference victory Friday night in Frank N. Justice Gymnasium in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Completing a sweep of the season series, the Lady Patriots concluded 12-11 overall and 9-3 in the league standings to end up in a second-place tie with High Point Andrews, while J-M (9-15, 5-7) finished fifth in the conference.
Madison Dark tossed in 17 points for Providence Grove, which managed to spoil J-M’s Senior Night by connecting on 42 percent (20-of-48) of its field goal attempts.
Playing her final home game, J-M’s Jocelyn Mitchell tallied 19 points, including four three-pointers, to run her career total to 1,082 points with at least one more outing to go in next week’s conference tournament.
Jasmine Scotton notched a career-high 18 points for Jordan-Matthews while Ellia Wright and Ashlyn Ray chipped in eight apiece as the Lady Jets shot 35 percent (23-of-66) from the floor.
“We’ve come out slow our last three games and I told the girls one day that will come back to bite us,” remarked Lady Patriots’ coach Doug Greene afterwards.
“But tonight after the first quarter I asked them to quit being selfish and making stupid mistakes, calm down, trust in themselves and finish the game out, and they listened.”
“Malea absolutely took over the second half to pave the way for our comeback, and nobody in the conference has been able to stop her this season when she’s on her game.”
J-M coach Mel Dark stated it was a contest she felt her team should have won but instead let slip away.
“I thought we played well about 80% of the time,” said Dark. “We shot the ball well early and showed patience on offense when we needed to, while defensively we did a good job entering the passing lanes and getting our hands on the ball.”
“But once Providence Grove rallied to take the lead we began rushing things and tried to break their pressure on the dribble, which led to turnovers.”
“We couldn’t find a way to contain Gerrison in the second half as she did everything they needed in terms of scoring and rebounding to pull out the win.”
With Mitchell and Scotton combining for a dozen points, Jordan-Matthews built a 14-8 advantage after one quarter before opening the second stanza with a 6-0 run to fashion a 12-point lead following Mitchell’s three-pointer from the left corner with 6:43 left in the first half.
But with Gerrison scoring 11 of her team’s 17 points in the second period, the Lady Patriots rallied to close the gap to 29-25 at intermission.
Providence Grove eventually regained its first advantage since the opening minutes when Gerrison’s fast break layup put the Lady Patriots on top 36-34 with 4:57 left in the third quarter.
Scotton’s layup with 42.9 seconds to go in the frame then gave the Lady Jets a 43-41 lead prior to a Dark free throw and bank shot in the lane that allowed Providence Grove to carry a one-point advantage into the fourth stanza.
Dark’s two foul shots with 6:30 remaining to play put the Lady Patriots in front for good at 48-46 and they gradually extended their lead to 64-56 following two Gerrison free throws with 30.7 seconds to go before wrapping up their triumph at the charity stripe.