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PLAS girls defeat top-ranked Lee-Scott

Fans in attendance for the two varsity basketball games between Lee-Scott and Pike Liberal Arts were treated to quite a show in Troy Tuesday night, as both games were decided in the final minute.

The varsity girls came up big, as they defeated the Warriors 37-36. Lee-Scott had been ranked No. 1 in all of AISA coming into the game, but that did not intimidate the Patriots of Pike Liberal.

“We’ve had a couple of close ones with them the last couple of years here, and they’ve just seemed to have our number,” said PLAS head coach Steven Kilcrease. “But tonight, our girls just played hard and came away with a big win against a team that we know is going to be there at the end. Hopefully, the girls know now they can play with anybody.”

The Warriors led 32-27 with 4:30 left to play before PLAS went on a 6-0 run to take the lead at 33-32.

Lee-Scott grabbed the lead right back, however, as Melissa Maddox knocked down a jumper while being fouled to put LSA up 34-33 with a free throw to come.

Maddox knocked down another jumper with about a minute left to cut the lead to one, but neither team would score again, giving PLAS the big win.

Katie Wiggins led the way with 10 points, while Rebecca Farrar had eight and Eady Pinckard had seven.

Despite the big win, Kilcrease said the team will not get ahead of itself.

“It does feel good, but we know we’ve still got a tough road ahead,” Kilcrease said. “Of course, a win is better than the alternative. Our girls just played their hearts out tonight, and I couldn’t be any more proud of them.”

Unfortunately for PLAS, the varsity boys team did have to experience the alternative Kilcrease alluded to, as it suffered a 62-58 loss to Lee-Scott.

Lee-Scott carried a No. 2 state ranking into Tuesday’s game against PLAS, and for a while, it looked as if the Warriors would blow out the Patriots, as LSA built a 30-15 lead midway through the second quarter.

However, PLAS battled back to cut the deficit to 39-30 at the half, setting the stage for a huge third quarter.

“I just told them at halftime this is a team we have to beat,” said PLAS head coach Mike Barbaree. “If we would have won, we would have been in the driver’s seat. They got focused, and once the second half started, they really believed we could win.”

PLAS outscored LSA 18-10 in the third quarter, trimming the lead to one heading into the final period of play.

The Patriots’ solid play continued, as they built a 58-55 lead late in the game.

However, the Warriors had one final run in them, as they closed the game on a 7-0 run that saw them take the lead for good with 1:11 left after a Marquen Mitchell lay-up.

Despite the tough loss, Barbaree said he was proud of his team’s performance.

“I really can’t say anything bad about the way we played tonight,” Barbaree said. “If we keep playing this hard, good things are going to happen for us down the road.”