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By Sarah Sue Ingram
BOLIVIA — The things that are free were costly to the Brunswick Community College women’s basketball team Wednesday night.
The Lady Dolphins missed eight second-half free throws in a hard-fought, suspense-filled 75-72 loss to Wake Tech.
The defeat drops the Lady Dolphins to 3-3 in the Carolina Junior College Conference, while the Lady Eagles improve to 4-2.
The game was tied seven times and had 12 lead changes.
Kenedra Smith sank both of her one-and-one free throws to put BCC ahead 70-68 with 2 minutes, 52 seconds left, but 10 seconds later Wake Tech’s Fantasha Tyson drove the lane and banked in a runner to knot the score at 70-70.
At the 2:07 mark, BCC’s Tyesha McLean raced for a loose ball at midcourt, got there first and was undercut — flipping her in midair. She gathered herself and swished both free throws to put the Lady Dolphins in front 72-70.
But a minute later, at the 1:07 mark, BCC missed two free throws. Wake Tech’s Latesha Williams tied the score at 72-all on two foul shots with 38.5 seconds left.
BCC brought the ball downcourt, but when Courtney Pearsall lobbed a pass from the baseline back out front for BCC to reset the offense — a pass she had successfully made many times during the game — Kima Sidberry fell and was unable to retrieve the pass.
The Lady Eagles scooped up the loose ball, and Williams hit another pair of free throws with 11.9 seconds left to put Wake Tech up 74-72.
“It was just one of those things,” BCC coach Joe Gaughan said. “We did a good job of getting back down there and not allowing her to score uncontested.”
The Eagles regained possession, and Latasha Anderson hit a free throw with 3.8 seconds left for a 75-72 lead. Gaughan called timeout to ice her, it worked and Pearsall power-grabbed the critical rebound.
BCC called timeout to set up a play, but a long shot at the buzzer was off the mark.
It was a disappointing ending for the Lady Dolphins, who had four players score in double figures. Crystal Hicks scored 15 points, Sidberry and Pearsall 12 each and McLean 10.
Wake Tech’s Brittany Collins scored 10 of her 14 points in the first half, Tyson and Williams added 13 apiece for the game, Anderson 12 and Syrenna McClean 10.
Williams, a feisty guard, hit 9 of 11 free-throw attempts in the second half.
“Her free throw shooting down the stretch was great,” said Wake Tech coach Barry Street. “In crunch time, she hits free throws.
“We got in foul trouble in the first half, and some of our starters had to sit.”
Wake Tech’s McClean fouled out at the 2:52 mark, just after she had banked in a shot to tie the score at 68-all.
The Lady Eagles played old-school ball, using the glass five times to bank in baskets on drives.
BCC got the other Wake Tech post player, Collins, in foul trouble, too, but she managed to end the game with four fouls.
“This game, the BCC post players made second-chance shots,” said Street, whose team has handed BCC two of its three league losses.
“No. 34 (Katrina Brown) was very active in the middle, and No. 4 (Hicks) kind of took over for a few minutes. We knew she was a scorer and we had to stay on her, but she would drive in and dish it to the open person.”
Kenedra Smith captured nine rebounds and scored eight points. Chantay Smith came off the bench in the first half to secure four rebounds and hit a 3-pointer. Nine Lady Dolphins scored in the first half.
Hicks started the game hitting a 3-pointer and made another from the right corner with 10:42 left in the game. She was fouled on the shot and made the free throw for a four-point play that put BCC ahead 55-54.
The Lady Eagles sank 17 of 28 free-throw attempts, while the Lady Dolphins made 18 of 30 free-throw tries.
“If we’re hitting free throws, we’re scoring in the mid-80s to 90s,” said Gaughan, whose team is 9-7 overall.
He also lamented “a stretch in the second half when we didn’t get a rebound and they beat us off the dribble.”
Pearsall snared 10 rebounds, and with her dozen points she posted a double-double.
“Courtney Pearsall for a freshman is playing really well,” Gaughan said.
He was again pleased with the on-court intensity of his players.
“They all played well when they were called on,” he said.
Wake Tech 35 40 —75
Brunswick 36 36 —72
WT: Brittany Collins 14, Fantasha Tyson 13, Latesha Williams 13, Latasha Anderson 12, Syrenna McClean 10, Jasmine Preston 8, Brianna Taylor 5.
BCC: Crystal Hicks 15, Kima Sidberry 12, Courtney Pearsall 12, Tyesha McLean 10, Kenedra Smith 8, Katrina Brown 6, Chantay Smith 5, Bailey Simpson 2, Jasmine Corbett 2.
Sarah Sue Ingram, a member of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame board of directors, is a correspondent for the Beacon.