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Bethel girls drop 49-48 heartbreaker

Brian Johnson
Sports Editor

BYNG – The Purcell Lady Dragons overcame an 11-point third-quarter deficit and edged the Bethel Lady Wildcats, 49-48, Thursday in the first round of the Ada Nissan/Byng Winter Classic at the Bill Koller Field House.

Bethel, 4-3 on the season, had a 41-30 advantage with 3:40 to go in the third quarter before Purcell closed the period with a 9-0 spurt to pull within 41-39. That run was extended to start the fourth as the Lady Dragons scored four straight points to take a 44-41 edge.

The Lady Wildcats were unable to regain the lead again, but they managed to stay in contention and were even helped by Purcell connecting on only one free throw in the final 56 seconds.

Kelsie Wood hit a pair of free shots with seven seconds remaining to pull Bethel within 49-48. The Lady Dragons were fouled with five seconds left and missed both free throws. That set the stage for a rushed, last-second attempt by Parker Stevenson, but the ball was blocked as the horn sounded.

Alicia Baker paced Purcell with 17 points and teammate Emily Madden tallied 13.

The Lady Dragons rallied by converting long-range buckets as they finished with eight treys for the game, three each by Baker and Madden. Chelsea Spain drained two treys in tallying six points. Six of those converted 3-point shots came in the second half.

Kennedy Gregory posted up for a game-high 24 points as she was 9-of-19 from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds. She connected on eight of her first 12 shots, but was only 1-of-6 the rest of the way.

Stevenson and Wood finished with eight points apiece and Stevenson pulled down a game-leading 12 rebounds. Paige Hubler grabbed seven boards to go with her four points and Laney O’Rorke tallied the other four points to round out the Bethel scoring.

The Lady Wildcats will play today at 10 a.m. in the consolation bracket.