It took a quarter of play for the Pineville Lady Lions to come into their own during Thursday’s game against Hancock County, Tennessee. After tallying only three points in the opening quarter, the Lady Lions rallied to a 42-27 victory over the Lady Indians.
Whitney Caldwell provided the spark that sent Pineville on the right track. The eighth-grader came off the bench and scored eight of Pineville’s 17 points in the second quarter. The performance helped the Lady Lions gain a lead that they never surrendered. She finished the night with a game-high 13 points.
“Whitney Caldwell came in and picked it up. She played hard,” said Pineville coach Jamie Mills. “She shot 100 percent from the floor. She gave us a lift.”
Jill Enix added nine points to the scoreboard, while Sarah Combs and Autumn Short finished the game with six points apiece.
“Jill played real well. We moved her in the middle on offense, and she started making moves. Once we got in a rhythm, we just took off with it. We got a bunch of kids that can play. We had a couple that just had an off night, but that’s just typical of basketball. The other girls picked up that slack.”
Hancock County was paced by Karlie Bowlin, who scored a team-high 10 points off the bench. August Baker finished the game with eight points — all coming in the first half.
The Lady Lions started slow out of the gate. After taking a quick 3-2 lead, Pineville was held scoreless for the remainder of the first quarter. The Lady Indians ended the first on a 7-0 run that was capped off by an old-fashion three-point play by Bowlin.
Hancock took a 9-3 lead into the second quarter.
Pineville began cutting into the lead at that point. The Lady Lions narrowed the lead to two points after going on a brief 6-2 run. A layup from Morgan Thompson brought the score to 11-9 in favor of Hancock County.
A basket from Allison Hopkins temporarily halted Pineville’s momentum and increased the lead to 13-9.
Pineville rattled off six straight points that helped the team take a 15-13 lead. Caldwell paced the run with four points.
After a layup from Macy Reed, the Lady Lions ended the quarter with back-to-back baskets from Thompson and Caldwell that gave them a 20-15 lead heading into halftime.
Pineville began pulling away in the third. The Lady Lion defense held Hancock County to just four points in the quarter while tallying 15 on offense.
Bowlin put the Lady Indians on the board first in the second half with two free throws that cut the lead to 20-17.
Pineville then went on a 9-0 run that ate up nearly three minutes of the clock. Enix capped the run off with a 3-pointer that increased the Lady Lion lead to 29-17 with 2:01 remaining in the third.
Katey Gibson ended the run with a jumper that cut the lead to 29-19. Pineville used a 6-0 run at the end of the third to balloon their lead to 35-19 heading into the fourth.
The Lady Indians outscored the Lady Lions 8-7 in the fourth quarter, but Pineville exited Mary Mars Gym with a 15-point victory.
Pineville (5-1) continues their journey through the J. Frank White Classic at noon on Saturday with a matchup against Jellico, Tennessee.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN