Against just about all odds, the Thomson High School Lady Bulldogs pulled out one of their biggest basketball wins in several years last Saturday night.
The Lady Bulldogs pulled out a stunning 53-51 upset win against the visiting Warren County High Lady Screaming Devils in overtime.
"It feels great," remarked Thomson head coach Michael Williams after the win. "We were able to make some adjustments at halftime that helped us win the game."
Coach Williams, who is in his second season at Thomson, said he decided to switch to a more spread-out zone defense in the second half as a way to better contain some of Warren County's quicker players, especially senior Candice Warthen.
"We knew we couldn't man up against them in the second half and expect to win, which is why we went with the spread zone, instead," said coach Williams.
The star player, who ended up scoring 30 points against Thomson, recently signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Arizona University next year. The night before against the Jefferson County Lady Warriors in Louisville, Warthen scored 29 points. She now needs only 23 points to accomplish the feat of scoring 2,000 points in her four-year prep career.
This Friday night, Warthen is expected to accomplish that goal when she and her teammates host Thomson.
The loss was a bitter one for Warren County.
"We played mentally down for some reason," said Warren County first-year head coach George Lee. "We're going to be better prepared Friday."
At the end of regulation, the score was 42-42. Warren County's Takesia Harris managed to hit one of two free-throws with just a second remaining in regulation to send the game into a four-minute overtime period.
"We've got to learn to shoot better from the free-throw line," said coach Lee, noting had his team done as well as is capable from the bonus line, the game would never have been in doubt.
In the third period, the Lady Bulldogs went on an 8-point run -- the last basket being the result of a nice feed pass from Ke'Onda Bradshaw to Ashleigh Burnett to make it a 25-20 game. Before Thomson got red-hot, Warren County had led 23-12 behind Warthen's 13 first-half points.
The Lady Screaming Devils later went up 29-20 before Thomson went on their scoring run. Thomson's No. 12 first hit a basket before Natasha Ballard stole a Warren County pass hit a follow-up shot. Ballard later scored again and hit a free-throw to make it a 31-27 game. By the end of the third period, Warren County's lead had been trimmed to just three points, 31-28.
The game became tied at 31-31 when Thomson's KiKi Tanksley scored with 7:25 remaining in the fourth period.
Critical turnovers became a factor for Warren County in both the fourth period and during the overtime period.
"We're going to have to cut down on mistakes," added coach Lee.
Ballard led Thomson with 19 points. Other Thomson players scoring in that game included: Burnett, 12, Tanksley, 7, Bradshaw, 7, Nekia McNair, 4, Kierra Brown, 2 and Brittany Reid, 2, respectively.
Other players scoring for Warren County included: Takesia Harris, 7, Tynisha Harris, 5, Tykesia Johnson, 5, Sondrea Hardin, 4 and Tomeka Harris, 2, respectively.