SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Down by as many as 22 points in the second half, the Converse (5-4, 1-1 CC) College basketball team showed extreme grit and determination on its way to the biggest comeback in school history, taking down the Bobcats of Lees-McRae (2-4, 1-1 CC) by a score of 96-90 in overtime on Saturday afternoon inside Hannah Gymnasium.
Score: Converse 96, Lees-McRae 90
Records: Converse (5-4, 1-1 CC), Lees-McRae (2-4, 1-1 CC)
Location: Hannah Gymnasium
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- The Valkyries finished the game with 19 steal, setting a new program record
- Brianna James, despite sitting most of the first half with foul trouble, led the Vals in scoring with 16
- Nigeria Davis had just another day at the office, recording her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 boards.
- Abigail Lewis (15), Paige Johnson (14), and Serenity Hunt (13) all finished in double-figures for Converse.
- Dominique Hill put on a thievery show, taking away steals from the Bobcats.
- The Valkyries went 33-of-42 (78.6%) from the free throw line, by far their best output of the season from the charity stripe.
HOW IT HAPPENED
LMC started the game with back-to-back buckets to push ahead 4-0 early, but a James three-ball cut the score to a single point with 8:26 on the clock. A layup by D. Hill knotted the contest at 7-7 but the Bobcats used a strong 13-2 run to end the quarter, leading after one by a score of 20-9.
A three-pointer from D. Hill followed by a layup from Jazmine Webb cut the Bobcats lead to just six points (20-14) with 7:12 left before halftime.
However, Lees-McRae finished the quarter off with a resounding run of 23-10 to gain its biggest advantage of the second half, 43-24, heading into the locker room.
That lead grew to 22 points (50-28) after a layup by Brea Forbes at the 6:56 mark of the third quarter. A pair of free throws by Davis at the 5:43 point trimmed the deficit to 50-35, but it seemed as though every time Converse threw a punch, Lees-McRae was waiting with a counterpunch, continuing to push the lead out to 20 points, the last time being 64-44.
At that point the Valkyries stepped up their defense and was able to crawl back to within 14 (66-52) heading into the final quarter of action.
The fourth belonged to the Valkyries as they outscored LMC by 14 (51-37) to force overtime. A 16-3 run to begin the final stanza brought Converse to within a single point (69-68) as the two teams approached the halfway point of the fourth quarter.
However, a quick 5-1 spurt by the Bobcats gave LMC a slim 74-69 lead with 4:49 remaining. Once again CC turned up the pressure on defense and cut the score to one-point (74-73) before Lees-McRae pushed back ahead by the score of 83-78 with only 49 ticks left on the clock.
Lewis made a layup on the Vals next possession before Ashley Sides contributed a steal and pair of free throws to put Converse down a single-point for the fourth time in the fourth quarter. This time Tatum Boggs came up with a steal and Serenity Hunt went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe to knot the game at 83. Lees-McRae missed several game-winning buckets on its end of the floor and the game, which looked to be well-in-hand for LMC, headed to overtime.
The overtime session belonged to the Valkyries, outscoring the Bobcats 13-7 over the final five minutes. James gave the Vals their first lead (85-83) since it was 7-5 with 7:52 remaining in the opening period. A Boggs free throw pushed the lead to 86-83, but Mackenzi Blankenship drilled a clutch three for LMC to tie the game at 86-all with three minutes to play in overtime number one.
From that point Converse outscored Lees-McRae 10-4 to complete the improbable comeback.
After forcing only 13 turnovers in the first half of action, Converse picked up the defense and forced 22 turnovers in the second half, resulting in 31 points.
With that win all fans can use the promo code: Converse50 at papajohns.com and receive 50% off all orders at regular menu price.
Converse will return to the court on Monday, December 4 as it travels to Greenwood, S.C. to take on the Bearcats of Lander University. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.