The final game of the first day at the Pine Mountain Classic may have provided the most excitement. Pineville’s girls overcame a six-point deficit in the final 1:18 of regulation and pulled out a 59-54 overtime win over Cumberland Gap, Tenn.
Lady Mountain Lion senior forward Devin Enix finished with a game-high 18 points and reached a milestone with her 1,000th career point on a second quarter basket that put Pineville up 18-13 with about three minutes left in the first half. She saved her best for late in the game, however, hitting one 3-pointer with 15 seconds to go in regulation that gave PHS their only lead of the fourth quarter at 48-45.
Cumberland Gap sophomore Tessa Brooks banked in a 25-foot 3 of her own at the buzzer to force overtime.
After the teams traded turnovers, Enix delivered the first points of the extra frame with another trey and then hit two free throws with 2:38 to play for a 53-48 Lady Lion lead that they would never give up.
“Devin’s our senior and she stepped up and had a big game. She scored two buckets at the beginning of the game to get her 1,000th point and join the 1,000-point club. Then she hit a big 3 for us late,” Pineville coach Brenda Gambrel said. “It was the combination of her playing aggressive like that and our other girls picking up and giving 110-percent that made it an all-around good game.”
The teams traded possessions before Tessa Pittman converted a three-point play after grabbing an offensive rebound to get the Lady Panthers back within two. Chelsea Fultz came up with a steal, but her layup rattled out of the rim. Fultz again knocked the ball away from the Lady Lions and right to Pittman but this time a Cumberland Gap 3-pointer for the lead was off the mark.
Pineville eighth-grader Jillian Enix was fouled and hit both free throws at the 1:08 mark. Emily Mullins hit one of two free throws after another Lady Panther missed three to push the lead to 56-51.
CGHS got a 3 from senior Chelsea Bingham with 40 seconds left to again cut the lead to two. Cumberland Gap had a chance to tie it after a Brooks steal, but couldn’t get a shot to go down. Mullins hit one of two free throws with 12 seconds left and the Lady Panthers had two good looks at a tying 3-pointer late, but both drew iron. Jillian Enix grabbed the last rebound and hit two free throws with 0.4 seconds to go to set the final at 59-54.
“It’s just what we talked about in the locker room, doing the fundamental things — free throws, layups, taking care of the ball, making good decisions. We had the lead late and made a couple of bad decisions,” Cumberland Gap coach Dennis Cline said. “Our kids always play hard and to Pineville’s credit at the end of the game and in overtime they made some big shots. Our girls made a couple of big shots, too. It was a really good game, our girls just have to learn how to win.”
Enix led all scorers with those 18 points while the Lady Lions also got 16 from Mullins, 13 from Erica Gambrell and eight from Jillian Enix.
Cumberland Gap was led by Fultz with 15 points. Bingham and Pittman both finished with nine while Genna Lake and Morgan Beeler added eight apiece.
“The way I want to do things everybody has got the opportunity, if they take advantage of it then good for them,” Cline said. “We want to see that balance, but we’ve had to arrive at that. They’re used to one or two doing all the work and now everybody is getting involved. That way teams can’t just load up to try and stop so-and-so or so-and-so, if they do that we want our other players to step up and that’s part of our maturation process.”
Pineville led early on thanks to 3s from Devin Enix and Mullins along with four points from Gambrell in the first quarter, but the Lady Panthers got four points from Beeler and a three from Fultz as they trailed just 12-11 after one.
Consecutive baskets from Enix pushed the lead to 20-13 late in the first half. Pittman scored four points as Cumberland Gap closed the half on a 6-2 run and trailed just 22-19 at the break.
The momentum carried over into the third quarter as Fultz hit a basket and then a 3 to put the Lady Panthers in front and then found Lake for a basket and a 26-22 edge. A jumper from Beeler made it 28-23 and Cumberland Gap carried a 32-29 lead into the fourth quarter.
A 3 from Mullins brought the Lady Lions within 35-34 at the 6:35 mark. But Fultz answered with a 3, Lake scored on a putback and a Brooks steal led to a Binghan jumper that gave the Lady Panthers their biggest lead at 42-35 with 5:25 to play in the fourth.
Pineville got one free throw each from Jillian Enix and Gambrell and then a driving layup from Gambrell to get within three points, but again Fultz answered with a basket.
The Lady Lions missed a couple of chances to get closer before Fultz hit one free throw to make it 45-39 with 1:31 left in regulation.
That was still the score when Jillian Enix hit two free throws at the 1:18 mark. Pineville’s press forced a turnover on the in-bounds play and Mullins hit a layup to make it 45-43. The press forced another turnover when Cumberland Gap couldn’t get the ball in. Pittman came up with a steal and was fouled, but missed the front end of the bonus. Mullins drove in for a layup to tie the game with 32 seconds left.
“We’ve been working on our press. I told the girls that we’ve got to get up in their jerseys and we’ve got to stay there. That’s exactly what they did,” Gambel added.
The teams traded turnovers before the Lady Panthers again missed the front end of the bonus and Gambrell found Enix open on the right wing for that go-ahead 3-pointer. Cumberland Gap missed one chance to tie it, but got the offensive rebound and called a timeout to set up one last play with 2.5 seconds to go.
It may not have been exactly what Cline drew up, but Brooks secured the ball after nearly turning it over at the timeline. She gathered herself about seven feet beyond the top of the key got off the tying shot over an outstretched Mullins and banked it in at the buzzer to force overtime.
But the Lady Lions never trailed in the extra frame as they pulled out the five-point win.
Both teams will play two games today as the tournament continues. Pineville (6-4) takes on Knott County Central at 10 a.m. and Lynn Camp at 5 p.m. while Cumberland Gap (2-7) plays Lynn Camp at 11:45 a.m. and Knott Central at 3:15 p.m.
— — —
CUMBERLAND GAP (54) — Chelsea Fultz 15, Chelsea Bingham 9, Genna Lake 8, Morgan Beeler 8, Tessa Brooks 3, Tessa Pittman 9, Brooklyn Creech 2, Amber Craig 0.
PINEVILLE (59) — Devin Enix 18, Emily Mullins 16, Jillian Enix 8, Erica Gambrell 13, Rachel Barnes 2, Sophia Knuckles 2, Makenzie Fuson 0.