PINEVILLE —In a game played with all the intensity of a district semifinal, the Lady Mountain Lions battled all the way back from a 13-point deficit only to see Lynn Camp pull out a 59-55 win Thursday at the Pine Mountain Classic.
While it was a tough district loss to take, Pineville coach Matt Shafer was happy with his team’s performance. Especially since they had dropped a 54-20 decision to the Lady Wildcats in the last game for both teams.
“You never feel good about a loss, but I feel like tonight we didn’t really lose we just ran out of time,” he said. “We played our butts off and we can walk off the floor with our heads held high. We just came up short on the scoreboard, on effort and everything we definitely won.”
Pineville trailed 22-9 after Kayla Smith hit a pair of 3-pointers around the midway point of the second quarter and a basket by Merita Burke made it 24-11 with 3:12 remaining in the first half. But the Lady Lions closed the half on an 11-2 run with Devin Enix scoring eight of the points, including two 3s in the final 1:30, and trailed just 26-22 at the break.
In the third quarter Pineville got 3s from Annalee Adams and Enix, Stacey Washington scored a pair of baskets inside and Erica Gambrell came away with a steal and layup for a 38-37 lead at the 2:27 mark. From that point on the game featured six lead changes and three ties.
Washington scored again and then came up with a steal and a Rachel Barnes bucket put Pineville up 42-39. Jessica May scored inside for Lynn Camp just before the end of the quarter to make it a one-point game.
“Stacey got in a little foul trouble early and a lot of that was just not doing the work before the girl catches the ball. She can do so much for us offensively and she just has to realize her role and not try to block everybody’s shot. That way she can stay on the floor and play a whole lot more,” Shafer said.
It went back-and-forth for most of the fourth quarter with Gambrell hitting one of two free throws with 4:12 to play to give the Lady Lions their last lead at 50-49.
Burke answered with a jumper and Washington then hit one of two from the line to tie it at 51 with 3:36 remaining. May and Enix exchanged hitting both ends of the bonus and it was tied again at 53 by the 2:15 mark.
The pace of the game during the furious comeback may have caught up to the Lady Lions late. They forced a steal, but threw the ball away and May got free inside to put the Lady Wildcats on top for good with just under 2:00 left. Pineville missed their next three shots and Heather Wilson hit a pair of free throws with 37 seconds to go to push the lead to 57-53.
“We got in that hole early and when you’re trying to dig out of that sometimes you just don’t have the legs to see it all the way through,” Shafer said. “Lynn Camp’s a good, veteran team and they do a really good job. But I can’t say enough about my girls’ effort.”
Enix drove the lane for two, but Smith hit a pair of free throws with 3.8 seconds on the clock as Lynn Camp pulled out the 59-55 win.
Smith led the Lady Wildcats with 18 points, while May finished with 17 and Burke and Wilson added 10 each.
Enix finished with a game-high 23 points for Pineville to go along with 10 rebounds. Washington added 17 points and Gambrell chipped in with seven points, eight rebounds and six steals.
“We just had some solid performances. Erica is averaging five-plus steals a game, Devin double-doubles. We’re going to be really scary once we get everybody firing all at once,” said Shafer. “Right now we’re getting about three going and it’s a different girl every night. Once we get consistent, we’re going to be hard to beat.”
Both teams will play a pair of games today as the tournament continues. Pineville (7-6) plays Lee County at 11 a.m. and Middlesboro at 5:30 p.m. while Lynn Camp (9-2) takes on Middlesboro at 12:30 p.m. and Lee County at 4 p.m.
— — —
Lynn Camp…12…14…15…18 — 59
Pineville………8…14…20…13 — 55
LYNN CAMP (59): Kayla Smith 18, Jessica May 17, Heather Wilson 10, Merita Burke 10, Miranda Miller 2, Brianna Hollin 2, Brooklyn Bryant 0.
PINEVILLE (55): Devin Enix 23, Stacey Washington 17, Erica Gambrell 7, Emily Mullins 3, Annalee Adams 3, Rachel Barnes 2, Autumn Short 0, Jillian Enix 0, Makayla Keyes 0.