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James' Late Free Throws Lifts Valkyries Over Southern Wesleyan

James' Late Free Throws Lifts Valkyries Over Southern Wesleyan

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Junior guard Brianna James knocked down a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left on the clock and the Converse (7-12, 3-8 CC) basketball team played tough defense en route to a come-from-behind 79-78 win over Southern Wesleyan (5-13, 4-8 CC) on Friday evening.

James finished with her second consecutive double-double, going for 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Abigail Lewis poured in a game-high 20 points for the Purple and Gold. Paige Johnson contributed 15 points and knocked down two clutch threes down the stretch to help CC prevail. Tatum Boggs also eclipsed double-figures with 13. Denisha Hall and Tatiyana Mahone had 19 each for the Warriors.

In a game that saw 18 lead changes the first quarter set the tone. Converse held a 13-9 advantage following a pair of free throws from Lewis, but SWU tallied five straight to regain a 14-13 lead. The final two minutes of the opening period the lead changed hands five times and Southern Wesleyan held a slim 20-18 mark heading to the second.

A three-pointer by Jessica Sparks opened the lead to 25-20 in favor of the guests, but a Boggs deep ball brought the Vals to within 27-25. However, a 12-4 run by the Warriors over the next four minutes of game action staked SWU to a 39-29 lead. Not wanting the game to get out of hand before the half, Ashley Sides drilled her only basket of the game, a deep three from the right wing and Johnson snuck inside for a nifty reverse layup, cutting the deficit in half (39-34) heading into the break.

Five straight to open the second half put Converse back on top by a point (40-39), but an 11-3 run by Southern Wesleyan spread the margin back to 50-43 with 3:44 remaining in the third period. Once again Converse showed resilience and would not go away, battling back to trim the gap to 51-50 with just under two minutes left in the third quarter. SWU collected five of the next seven points and took a 56-52 lead into the fourth.

Boggs stepped into a triple to open the fourth and Jordan Brooks darted to the basket with a layup to give the Valkyries the lead back (57-56) just 30 seconds into the final stanza. Noelle van Zadelhoff went 1-of-2 from the charity stripe and Shawdre Young buried a three to once again swing the momentum in favor of the visitors. With the score at 60-57, Converse went on a crucial 11-2 run to gain breathing room at 68-62 with six minutes of action left.

That lead grew to 77-69 following a Johnson deep ball. However, Southern Wesleyan did not go quietly as it turned up the defense. A layup by Mahone and back-to-back steal and buckets from Hall brought the Warriors to within a single point (77-76). Hall was at it again as she knocked down a jumper in the paint to cap an 8-0 run that put SWU back ahead 78-77 with 18 seconds left on the scoreboard. After calling a timeout and advancing the ball James drove to the basket and was fouled, knocking down the ensuing two free throws to put the Vals back ahead for the final time.

The Valkyries will be back in action tomorrow evening as they play host to North Greenville during the final game of a four-game home stand. Tipoff for that contest is scheduled for 4 p.m. inside Hannah Gymansium.