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WILMINGTONThe West Brunswick High School girls basketball team shook off a five-game losing streak in the best way possibleby winning two conference games on the road.
After posting a 59-53 victory last Tuesday at White Oak, the Lady Trojans crossed the Cape Fear River again on Friday and came away with a 49-45 overtime win at Ashley.
West Brunswick improved to 4-5 in the Mideastern 3A/4A Conference and 12-8 overall and moved to within one game of clinching a berth in the state 3A playoffs.
During its losing streak, West Brunswick coach Cherry Woodbury said her team got away from its pre-game tradition of yelling Winners. It was resumed following Tuesdays game, with a twist.
From the beginning of the year, Jo Jo (Clear) said she wanted us to be winners so when we did our yell before the game we said Winners. We wanted to play like winners and feel like winners and have a winning record and be successful, Woodbury said.
When we got in our little slump I got a little bit away from that and I started talking about heart. So as soon as we won again they said, Can we say winners again? One of them said, Can we say winners back on track? so that was our motto after our win Tuesday night.
West Brunswicks girls played like winners down the stretch against Ashley, outscoring the Lady Eagles 20-8 in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Senior guard Miranda Jenrette proved to be the best player on the court, racking up 21 points, six steals, five rebounds and three assists.
Jenrette had eight points and three steals in the fourth quarter as the Lady Trojans rallied from an eight-point deficit. She added four points in overtime, including the clinching free throws with 3.3 seconds left.
Sophomore guard Sheena Suttlemyre added eight points, five steals and four assists and Clear, a senior forward, had four points, four steals and 10 rebounds.
Woodbury said the team got contributions from everyone who played. She praised Mariah Evans and Bre Gause for their role in defending Ashley point guard Ashley Altman.
Im just real proud of them, Woodbury said. It was a team effort. Everybody that went in contributed big.
High scorers for Ashley (2-7 conference, 4-16 overall) were Kelsey Hopper with 11 points, Alyssa Worley with 10 and Altman with nine.
Ashley closed the first quarter on a 7-2 run for a 9-6 lead.
After West Brunswick opened the second quarter with six unanswered points, the Lady Eagles responded with an 8-2 spurt and held a 24-23 halftime lead.
The Lady Eagles led by as many as nine points in the third quarter.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Woodbury called a timeout, pulled her five starters and inserted five subs.
We had a little slump in the third quarter, and I felt like the starters came out and played a little sloppy. We were trying to change up the defense and they went a little haywire with it and we gave up some easy baskets. I thought we were a little soft with the ball. I put the other five in.
I think it was a little shock to the starters sitting on the bench. They really wanted to go back in there and prove what they could do.
West Brunswick trailed 37-29 heading into the fourth quarter but held Ashley without a field goal in the final period and forced several turnovers with its full-court press.
Jenrette came up with several steals near mid-court and scored eight points in less than three minutes as the Lady Trojans built a 41-38 lead with less than two minutes remaining.
Ashleys Megan Goins made two free throws with 1:38 to play, and Altman made one with 32 seconds left to tie it.
West Brunswick had two shots to win the game in the last 5 seconds of regulation but missed both attempts.
In the first minute of overtime, Jenrette scored on a putback and Suttlemyre hit a jump shot to give West Brunswick a four-point lead.
Hopper scored off a turnover, then hit a free throw with 1:17 remaining to make it a one-point game.
Evans made a clutch baseline jumper with 48 seconds left to push West Brunswicks lead back to three, and Hopper made one of two free throws with 40 seconds left.
Ashley had a chance to tie it with 6.2 seconds left, but Katia Holliday missed two free throws and Jenrette grabbed the rebound. She was fouled and made two foul shots with 3.3 seconds left to clinch the win.
In the fourth quarter, West Brunswick used Evans and Gause to keep the ball out of Altmans hands and force other players to break the press.
Everything goes through her. Shes a sophomore, but shes really heady and even when we were pressing them the first pass always went to her. We went to totally denying her the ball all over the floor and thats when we really made our comeback, Woodbury said.
I really hand it to Bre and Mariah. Its hard to concentrate on someone thats as good as she is denying her and they did.
Woodbury said Suttlemyre had a solid game at point guard.
Sheena stepped up and was so strong with the basketball. She didnt let them rattle her, she recognized what they were in defensively and she took care of the basketball. Thats what a point guards got to do and she did it.
West Brunswick played Tuesday night at Laney and will entertain Jacksonville on Friday.
The Lady Trojans travel to New Hanover next Tuesday before concluding the regular season Feb. 15 at North Brunswick.
W. Brun. 6 17 6 12 849
Ashley 9 15 13 4 445
West Brunswick scoring: Jenrette 21, Suttlemyre 8, Daniels 4, Winters 4, Evans 4, Clear 4, White 3, Gause 1.
Ashley scoring: Hopper 11, Worley 10, Altman 9, Goins 7, Holliday 5, Atkinson 2, Adams 1.