BY LINDA JACOBS
The Livingston Lady Lions overcame an eight-point, fourth quarter deficit in dramatic fashion when leading scorer Jhonrekia Ramsey-Dunn nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 43 with six seconds left, forcing overtime against New Caney in first round action at Livingston's annual Holiday Hoopfest.
Dunn, who finished with a game-high 23, continued her hot streak and scored six of her team's eight points in overtime to lead the Lady Lions to a 51-50 win over the Lady Eagles. Dunn started slowly, scoring just seven points in the first three frames, but finished with a bang by depositing 10 in the fourth, as Livingston rallied back from a 36-28 deficit heading into the final quarter.
"She's a great player," commented Lady Lion head coach Pam Muse. "She plays with a lot of energy and passion." Muse, in her first year at Livingston, was proud of the entire team. Despite missing their share of shots throughout the contest, the Lady Lions never gave up. "They never have the entire year and I'm proud of that.
"Even at College Station the other night when we had a really poor third quarter performance - I told them that they've never quit on me, and that's something I admire. We were in a big hole and I told them to do their best to try to come out of it, and they did. They scored 21 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit they were in."
Monday, however, was the exception. The two teams battled to an 11-11 tie in the first eight minutes. Livingston had trailed 7-3 with 3:08 to play, but closed the frame on an 8-4 run. Dunn hit two-of-three free throws when fouled shooting a three to make it 7-5 with 2:14 left. Down 9-5, Gillian Yannazzo drilled a trey to make it 9-8. New Caney went back on top 11-8, but Briana Hutchinson answered with a basket and foul shot for a three-point play to tie the game at 11 with 37 seconds left.
New Caney outscored the Lady Lions 15-10 in the second to take a 26-21 lead at the break. D'Asia Ivory, who finished in double digits with 11 points, kept the Lady Lions within range by scoring two hoops and a pair of free throws. Dunn and Yannazzo added field goals in the frame, as well.
Livingston's deficit grew to eight by the end of the third, as the Eagles finished the frame with a 10-7 advantage. The Lady Lions started on a promising note, scoring unanswered baskets by Dunn and Ivory to make it a one-point deficit, 26-25 with 6:39 on the clock.
The Lady Eagles dominated the remainder of the quarter by outscoring the Lions 10-3 to extend their lead 36-28 heading into the final quarter.
Livingston began their comeback with five unanswered points to begin the fourth quarter. Ivory got it rolling on a free throw with 6:57 on the clock. Yannazzo had a hand in the next two hoops, scoring on an outside shot with 6:10 on the clock, then finding Shykia Phillips open under the goal to make it 36-33 with 4:38 remaining.
New Caney hit a free throw at the 3:51 mark, 37-33. Dunn dialed long distance with a trey at the 3:33 mark to slice the deficit to 37-36. A rebound by Phillips on an Eagle miss was tossed to Dunn who sailed in for a layup to give Livingston a 38-37 lead with 2:34 left in the game. Another Dunn basket increased the lead to 40-37 with 1:34 left.
The lead flip-flopped when New Caney answered with six unanswered points, scoring two inside hoops and a pair of free throws to overtake the Lady Lions 43-40 with 14 seconds left in the contest.
Fans would get their money's worth when Dunn deposited a game-tying three-pointer with just six seconds left in the game, ending regulation in a 43-43 tie.
Dunn hit the first hoop with 3:18 in overtime, taking a toss from Ivory who had rebounded an Eagle miss. New Caney tied it at 45 on a pair of free throws with 3:11 on the clock. Gracie Hawkins misfired on a shot, but rebounded her miss and chunked it to Dunn who landed her third trey of the ballgame, 48-45. The lead was short-lived, as New Caney answered with a trey to tie the game at 48 with 2:30 left.
Shykia Phillips came up big when she connected a short baseline jumper to give the Lions a 50-48 lead with 2:16 to play. The Eagles scored an inside hoop to tie the game 50-all with 1:10 left. Both teams missed scoring opportunities on trips down their respective ends of the court.
With 27 seconds left in the game, Dunn was fouled shooting a trey. She stepped to the line and missed the first two. Her final attempt fell through the net for what would be the game winning shot, 51-50. Yannazzo would come up with a big steal in the closing seconds to deny the Eagles a last second scoring opportunity.