Aurelia Mangham scored 17 points (6 in the fourth quarter) and senior Xandria Hosely sank two huge free throws to give the Lady Bears a 49-46 victory over Spalding Friday evening in Region 4-AAAA Division B action at The House.
Griffin won its second straight game to improve to 8-8 overall and 5-3 in region play while Spalding drops its third consecutive game (and fifth straight region game) to fall to 8-7, 2-5.
Despite a slew of turnovers by both teams, the crosstown rivals put on a show for the entire Griffin community. Both teams air-balled free throws due to nerves, but they soon settled down and made some shots. Spalding, sporting new navy blue uniforms for the occasion, took the first lead of the game at 2-0 but Griffin tied the game at 3-all soon after. Spalding went on an 8-3 run to lead 11-6 after one quarter and both teams battled to a 24-24 halftime score.
Both teams missed shots in the third quarter, but Griffin managed to take a 28-25 lead — its biggest of the game at the time — with 4:00 left in the quarter. Shacoria Jones’ layup gave Griffin the 37-34 lead heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was back-and-forth action. After both teams turned the ball over, Spalding took control. The Lady Jags guards played the passing lanes very well, getting steals and converting them to points. Grenishia Daniel scored 4 straight points and Twandalette Cotton made a layup to get the Lady Jags a lead. Daniel then sank a knockdown 3-pointer from the top of the arc to complete a 9-0 run that gave Spalding a 43-37 lead at the 4:33 mark of the final stanza, putting the Spalding crowd into a frenzy.
Mangham wasn’t fazed. She scored six straight points to get the Lady Bears back in the game and Hosely made a layup minutes later to tie the game at 45-all with 1:31 left, sending the Griffin contingent into a frenzy.
“I did what I could to pump the team back up,” Mangham said. "I had to make some shots."
After turnovers by both teams, Spalding’s Shaquoria Reid (9 points, 5 steals) was fouled and she made one of two free throws to give the Lady Jags the 46-45 lead with 34.6 seconds left. Griffin then worked the ball to Hosely in the post and she was fouled.
Hosely had missed her first four free throws of the game, but she calmly swished her final two to give Griffin the 47-46 lead with 25 seconds remaining. Chelsea Prather then made a short jumper for the 49-46 lead with 12 seconds left. Daniel missed a trey in the waning seconds for the final 49-46 margin and that gave Griffin its first win over Spalding in the girls basketball series.
“The game was on the line and I knew I had to make the last two free throws after missing my first four,” said Hosely, who finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds. “Coach Lee told me to keep my elbow up and not lean it forward and that’s what I did on my last two free throws.”
Prather scored 11 for Griffin. Desiree Corbin led Spalding with 13 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks while Cotton added 11 points and 2 steals and Daniel scored 10 points for the Lady Jags, who travel to play Division A foe Stockbridge in a makeup game today at 6 p.m.
Griffin travels to Division B foe Riverdale Tuesday at 6 p.m.