Laney girls take Mideastern crown
Fri. February 22, 2013 at 11:17 p.m. | By Powell Latimer | StarNews Staff Writer
Laney's Rachel Jacobs (center left) and Amber Doniere (center right) hug in the middle of their teammates as they celebrate their 50-45 victory Friday night against Ashley in the Mideastern Conference title game at Laney High School. (Photo by Jeff Janowski)
Laney girls basketball coach Sherri Tynes hoisted the game ball after Friday night’s final whistle, curled it in her arm like a dumbbell and gave an emphatic grunt.
Tynes and Laney did some serious heavy lifting on Friday night to defeat Ashley 50-45 and win the Mideastern Conference tournament championship in a game with three lead changes in the final three minutes.
“We just gutted it out the whole way,” Tynes said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way.”
For the third straight meeting between the two teams, Ashley led late in the second half. And for the third straight time, Laney came up with an even later game-winning run.
On Friday night, Ashley (18-6) finally appeared to have found the formula. The Eagles kept the game tied at halftime even with leading scorer Felecity Havens on the bench with foul trouble for much of the first half.
Ashley neutralized Laney’s size advantage to grab 13 offensive rebounds. Senior guard Breanna Edwards stepped into the void left by Havens and scored 18 points, 10 in the first half. Jada Bacchus also threw in 15 points for Ashley.
“We were ready to roll,” Ashley coach Adrienne Gale said. “We were down a little bit, we fought back and got the lead. Breanna played her butt off tonight, really stepped up.”
Ashley even took the lead with a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter when Havens returned to the floor. The Screaming Eagles led by two points in the final minute.
But Laney (23-1) still had the last word when Tiana Edwards spotted up from outside the arc and buried a go-ahead three-pointer with 27 seconds to go.
“I woke up early this morning and went outside and shot and shot,” Edwards said. “I was confident with it. (Briana Baham) had a great assist to me and I knocked it down.”
Edwards’ three-pointer gave Laney a one-point lead and the Bucs closed the game on an 8-0 run. Amber Doniere led Laney with 15 points and 9 rebounds, including three second-half offensive boards. Laney had five offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.
“It’s us giving them gifts,” Gale said. “We can’t do that going forward into the playoffs."
With the win, Laney sweeps the Mideastern Conference, winning the regular season and tournament titles. The Bucs take the top playoff seed out of the Mideastern Conference and are guaranteed at least two home playoff games.
“That’s awesome,” Tynes said. “These kids worked their butts off. They play hard, they play together. We don’t have any superstars. We’ve got a group of kids who come together and get it done.”
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