Lake Hamilton pins first loss on Bethel girls

Photos by Kevin Nagle

Raija Todd goes up for a shot in the lane. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Raija Todd goes up for a shot in the lane. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

PEARCY — The Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves eighth grade team led the Bryant Blue Lady Hornets of Bethel Middle School at 3-0. After baskets by Bethel’s Raija Todd and Danielle Singleton, the Lady Wolves didn’t hold another lead until the final 10 seconds.

With the Lady Hornets ahead 39-36 after a free throw by Bailey Rowton, Lake Hamilton cut the lead to one with a wild, high-arching shot that was supposed to be a reverse layup.

In a flurry, the Lady Hornets tried to inbound the ball but the long pass to near midcourt was intercepted and, with :09 left, the Lady Wolves took the lead, 40-39 with a baseline jumper.

“We had some miscommunication on who was throwing it in,” said Bethel coach Rhonda Hall.

She got a timeout with :06.2 to go to design a play to get the lead back and when play resumed, Todd drove to near the top of the key and launched a shot amid plenty of contact, not to mention a slap on the wrist of her shooting hand, but the shot came up short and no call was forthcoming as the game ended with the Bethel girls absorbing their first loss of the season to Lake Hamilton.

Now 10-1, the Lady Hornets will have a chance to get back in the win column at Cabot South on Monday, Feb. 3.

Against Lake Hamilton, Todd finished with 23 points, including going 6 for 6 at the free throw line, and Singleton 10. The Lady Hornets outrebounded the Lady Wolves 32-27 with Rowton collecting 15 caroms.

Bailey Rowton tries to drive around a Lake Hamilton defender. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Bailey Rowton tries to drive around a Lake Hamilton defender. (Photo by Kevin Nagle)

Bethel led 7-5 after a quarter then opened the second period with an 8-0 run. Singleton hit a jumper from the short corner off a drive and dish by Todd and, after a Lake Hamilton turnover, Katie Evans sank a 12-footer. Todd’s driving layup forced a timeout by the Lady Wolves but, when play resumed, another turnover gave Bryant Blue a chance to add to the run. Again, Todd drove, drew the defense and dumped a pass to Singleton on the baseline where she connected on an eight-foot jumper to make it 15-5.

The Lady Wolves cut it to 17-10 in the final minute of the half but Todd hit a pair of free throws and, after a turnover, hit a running jumper with :02.7 to go to make it 21-10 at the intermission.

Lake Hamilton, which was 10 of 25 from the free-throw line, inched closer near the end of the third quarter but the Lady Hornets still held a 29-23 edge going into the final six minutes. The Lady Wolves scored the first 5 points of the final stanza to make it 29-28 before Singleton hit another baseline jumper off an assist from Todd to keep the Lady Hornets ahead.

The game was eventually tied at 31 and 33. Todd broke the first deadlock and dished to Singleton to snap the second one. Lake Hamilton missed a chance to tie it again and Rowton was fouled hauling down the rebound. She added a free throw to the lead with 1:59 left.

Lake Hamilton managed a pair of free throws over the next minute to trim it to 36-35. Todd converted both ends of a one-and-one with :51.9 showing to make it a 3-point game.

Another free throw by the Lady Wolves cut it to 2 and, on the second, Rowton was again fouled grabbing the rebound. She made the first of her free throws with :36.6 showing. Her second shot rattled around and did everything but fall so the lead was back to 3 going into the final 30 seconds.

Danielle Singleton (PHoto by Kevin Nagle)

Danielle Singleton (PHoto by Kevin Nagle)

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