“All I can say is that I prayed for it the last three weeks at church, so it happens that Jesus helped me out,” Garrett said. “I was praying for that last shot to go in. All you saw on my face was a look saying ‘Jesus let it go in please.’ As soon as it went in everyone was coming at me.”
Winterboro overcame an eight point deficit to force overtime. The Lady Bulldogs trailed 35-28 going to the fourth quarter. Layups by Jasmine Richardson and Anslea Twymon cut the lead down to 36-33 with 5:26 left in the game. Savona Garrett responded with a 3-pointer to push the Lady Fighting Tigers lead to 39-33. Morgan Merritt trimmed the lead to 43-37 on a floater. Richardson made it a four point game with a layup with 2:50 left in the game.
Richardson then hit a 3-pointer to make it 44-43 with 1:07 left in the game. Merritt tied the game up at 44-44 with 40 seconds left with a floater.
Anslea Twymon stole the inbound pass for Winterboro and got fouled with 9.2 seconds left in the game. The junior missed both free throws, which gave TC Central one last chance to win the game in regulation. Tiarrial Duncan was fouled while driving to the basket, but Winterboro was under the foul limit, which forced the game to go into overtime.
Richardson opened the extra period with a baseline drive for a layup to give the Lady Bulldogs their first lead since the first quarter, 46-44.
Tiarrial Duncan scored a layup in transition to tie the game at 46-46 with 3:21 left. Duncan hit a deep jumper to give the Lady Fighting Tigers a 48-46 lead with 2:24 remaining. Richardson once again came up big down the stretch. She nailed a pair of free throws with 1:59 left to tie the game at 48-48.
Nadia Estelle gave Winterboro a 50-48 lead on a layup with 1:51 remaining.
Both teams traded a pair of missed free throws. Tiarrial Duncan missed a pair that could have cut the lead down to a point with 35.7 second left. Twymon missed a pair that could have sealed the victory with 35.4 left.
Richardson split a pair to increase the Lady Bulldogs lead to 51-48 with 11.2 seconds left in the game.
TC Central’s Destini Garrett was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left in the game. Destini Garrett calmly drained the first two free throws. Winterboro called a timeout before the third free throw. Destini Garrett came up clutch when she stepped back to the stripe as she drained the third and final attempt to tie the game at 51-51.
“It was hard,” she said. “I made the first one and I was like OK. Then I made the second one and I was like alright it is 50-51. Then they called timeout and I was like man I’m about to get out of my rhythm. Coach Rob (Duncan) kept on telling me to take my time and make the free throw. When the timeout was over I stepped up there and took my time, did the same rhythm that I’ve been doing and I knocked it down to tie it a 51. I was scared. I was like if they don’t make the shot we will have another overtime period.”
With 4.6 seconds left in the game, the Lady Bulldogs had to travel the length of the floor for a final shot. Estelle received the pass, and then threw an errant pass to midcourt, Savona Garrett stole the ball and drove inside the free throw line and drained the game-winning shot for TC Central.
“Savona put the last two points through, but it was an overall team effort,” Duncan said. “The girls really responded to Macedonian Call. A few years ago our girls went to Alabama State for a basketball camp. Coach Freda Freeman Jackson made the statement except no mediocrity. I reaffirmed that to the girls over the Christmas holidays zero mediocrity and they accepted the challenge. Curteria Collins walked into practice. She had strep throat earlier in the week. I said what are you doing here, she said coach zero mediocrity. I started smiling, that is what got us over the hump. I am excited for the girls and we are grateful for the win.”
The loss for Winterboro (13-5) ends their 12 game-winning streak over TC Central. Over the last three years all of the games have come down to the wire with the exception of one game.
“First off, coach Duncan did another outstanding job of preparing his girls,” Winterboro head coach Sheroderick Smith said. “We waited a little bit too late to turn it on. I don’t think people should be surprised that we lost to TC. They were close last year. We always have close games and we just have been on the winning end of the stick. That is what happened tonight. It was a great basketball game. The girls game is definitely more of an rivalry in the past four years. It is difficult to keep the girls motivated. We were on a 12 game win streak against them. It is extremely hard to keep going every single time, then you have to see them in the County Tournament and see them in the Area Championship game hopefully. Honestly, they did a good job tonight and my hat is off to them.”
Savona Garrett led TC with 20 points. Duncan scored 12 points, while Destini Garrett scored 11 points.
Jasmine Richardson led Winterboro with 23 points. Anslea Twymon scored 12 for Winterboro.
The two teams will square off again in 10 days in the Talladega County Basketball Tournament in Sylacauga.