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SHALLOTTE—West Brunswick seniors Miranda Jenrette and Jordan Clear were not ready for their high school basketball careers come to an end Monday night.
So they did what they needed to ensure they would play at least one more game.
The duo combined for 34 points, 15 rebounds and two clutch baskets as the Lady Trojans defeated Washington 54-52 in overtime in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Jenrette’s three-pointer with 3.8 seconds left in regulation forced overtime, and Clear scored all six of her team’s points in the extra session, including the game-winning shot with 2.5 seconds remaining.
“Considering it’s our last home game and we’re both seniors, it was pretty exciting,” Clear said of the two big shots that sent West Brunswick on to the second round of the playoffs.
The Lady Trojans (14-12) were scheduled to play Wednesday night at Bertie (17-7). The winner plays in Friday’s sectional championship game.
Jenrette tallied 18 points, seven rebounds, five steals and five assists Clear finished with 16 points and eight boards for West Brunswick, the No. 2 seed from the Mideastern 3A/4A Conference.
“It was good to see our two seniors really step up and play tough,” said West Brunswick coach Cherry Woodbury. “They didn’t want to lose their last game on the home court.”
Washington center Sam Smith dominated the paint en route to a game-high 19 points. Point guard Hayley Stowe added 13 points and guard Harmony Simpkins had 12 for the Pam Pack (13-13).
“We weren’t able to knock down shots toward the end of the game and we threw the ball away too many times. We did not take care of the basketball,” said Washington coach Allison Jones.
“Hats off to West Brunswick. They played a great game. They are scrappy and we knew we’d have our hands full coming in here.”
Washington, the No. 3 seed from the Coastal 3A Conference, led almost the entire game. The Pam Pack scored the first five points and were up 12-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Washington repeatedly fed the ball inside to Smith, a 5-foot-11 senior who came in averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds per game. She easily exceeded those numbers against West Brunswick.
“She’s very physical and very aggressive and just a really good team leader,” Woodbury said. “They played really, really hard and I had heard they were a good team. They were even stronger inside than I thought.”
With Smith in the middle of the lane, West Brunswick had a hard time attacking Washington’s 1-3-1 zone. The Lady Trojans missed their first eight shots and were 8-for-33 from the field in the first half.
“I felt like we were getting some good shots,” Woodbury said. “We missed a lot of shots right under the basket. Those are shots that we usually hit.”
West Brunswick managed to cut the deficit to one point early in the second quarter, but the Pam Pack ended the period on a 9-4 run for a 24-17 halftime lead.
The Lady Trojans started hitting more shots in the third quarter. Jenrette made a pair of three-pointers and another jumper during a 12-2 spurt that gave West Brunswick its first lead at 29-28.
Washington led 34-33 at the end of the third period and extended its lead to 45-38 on a basket by Stowe with 2:49 remaining.
Clear made two free throws, Jasmine Daniels hit a jump shot and Sheena Suttlemyre made two free throws to cut the deficit to 45-44 with 1:34 to go.
Simpkins made two free throws at the 1:07 mark to make it a three-point game. Clear made one foul shot with 30 seconds to play and Smith made one with 13.9 seconds left to make it 48-45.
Following a timeout, West Brunswick swung the ball to Jenrette on the left wing and she swished the tying three-pointer.
“It’s set play and we normally run it for our point guard, but we felt like Miranda was shooting a little better so we had them switch and ran the screen for her. She told me earlier she was feeling it so we figured we should let Miranda take that last shot,” Woodbury said.
In overtime, Clear gave West Brunswick a two-point lead with 36 seconds on the clock. Stowe answered with the tying basket 11 seconds later for the Pam Pack.
Following a timeout with 24 seconds remaining, West Brunswick held the ball for the last shot. Clear got it on the baseline 12 feet from the basket and banked in the winning shot.
“I was really nervous,” Clear said after the game. “I usually don’t take jump shots. I was just hoping for the best.”
Woodbury said she thought West Brunswick’s depth was a key to the comeback. She used 11 players while Washington’s starting five played most of the game.
“I do feel like we were able to sub a lot more than they were, and I felt like in the fourth quarter we had worn them down a little bit and that was a bonus for us. You could kind of feel it. They made a few mental turnovers that they had not made earlier in the game,” Woodbury said.
“We tried to put a little more defensive pressure once we saw they were tired, and everybody stepped up and played hard when we needed to.”
Wash. 12 12 10 14 4—52
W. Brun. 7 10 16 15 6—54
Washington scoring: Smith 19, Stowe 13, Simpkins 12, Grice 6.
West Brunswick scoring: Jenrette 18, Clear 16, Suttlemyre 6, Daniels 4, Gause 4, White 4, Winters 2.
Doug Rutter is sports editor of the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.