SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Sophomore guard Tatum Boggs poured in a career-high 22 points, including a school record six threes to help lead the Converse (3-2) basketball team to its third consecutive win on Friday evening as it downed Columbia International (0-5), 72-66, in a thrilling contest inside of Hannah Gymnasium during day one of the Courtyard Classic.
Abigail Lewis and Ashley Sides each chipped in double-figures to help Boggs, tallying 14 and 11 points, respectively. Nigeria Davis contributed another solid performance as she scored eight points to go along with six boards.
For the contest Converse shot 38% (27-71), but knocked down 10 shots from behind the arc to make up for the other-than-stellar shooting performance. The Valkyries defense forced 28 Rams' turnovers, which lead to 18 points. CIU held a slim 45-44 margin in rebounds, but Converse outscored the Rams in the paint by two (30-28).
Columbia International jumped out to quick 4-0 lead after back-to-back buckets before Lewis got the Vals on the board with a layup in the low post. Over the next four-plus minutes of game action the score remained relatively close as neither team could pull away. However, with the score at 12-11 in favor of the Rams, Boggs knocked down a three, which in turn sparked an 8-0 run that gave the Valkyries a 19-12 lead after one quarter of play.
That lead grew to double-digits (25-14) when Serenity Hunt used a euro-step to elude the defender, softly kissing the ball off the glass with just over eight minutes left in the first half. From that point CIU used a 12-3 run over the next five minutes to narrow the gap to a single possession (28-26). Sides put an end to the at spurt with a three ball that barely tickled the twine on its way through, swinging the momentum back to the Vals. The two teams headed into halftime with Converse leading 38-34.
The third quarter proved to an offensive struggle and defensive battle as CC outscored the Rams by just three points (14-11) over the 10-minute span. Tiffani Riggen knocked down a pull-up jumper with 5:52 on the clock to push the lead to 48-38, but CIU finished the quarter scoring seven of the next 11 points to trail 52-45 heading into the final frame.
Columbia International made the game very interesting in the fourth quarter, using every bit of effort left to get itself back into the contest. A 16-9 advantage to the frame knotted the contest at 61-each before Boggs electrified the crowd with a huge three-pointer with just under three minutes remaining in regulation. However, Semoine Frasier used the glass and banked in the only three for the Rams on the next possession to once again even the contest. That set the stage for what proved to be the most crucial of all runs, this time by the Valkyries.
Paige Johnson caught the ball in the corner and used a nice jab step to clear herself of the defender and glided to the basket for the go-ahead layup with 1:56 on the clock. Boggs was at it again as she drilled back-to-back bombs to cap off the 8-0 run that put the Vals ahead for good. Zeleria Simpson connected on a jumper with one tick left that lead to the final score of 72-66.
The Valkyries will be back in action tomorrow afternoon during the second and final day of the Courtyard Classic, playing host to Mars Hill University at 3 p.m. The Lions fell to Chowan by the final of 72-46 earlier in the day.