Green comes up big in Sumrall's win over Columbia, Purvis' season ends

BROOKLYN – Sumrall junior Rachel Green was telling herself one thing while she was at the free throw line in the final seconds of overtime.

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“I was just like, ‘Just hit it like you’re in practice. You got this,’” she said.  “I was just telling myself over and over, ‘You got it.’”

While she didn’t make the first free throw, she made the second shot to give the Sumrall Lady Bobcats a 52-51 lead with less than 10 second in the game. Columbia would go down the court and miss its try, sending Sumrall into semifinals of the Region 7-4A tournament.

The win also guarantees a playoff spot for the Lady Bobcats, which was the fifth seed in the tournament. They’ll have a chance to improve their playoff positioning with 4 p.m. matchup with Greene County Thursday.

Besides Sumrall’s early 1-0 lead, it didn’t have pull ahead until the 7:30 mark of the fourth quarter when senior Lakelyn Bohannon made a shot off the glass. The Lady Wildcats used a 9-0 run after that to regain their separation on Sumrall.

Fueled by Green and seniors Amelia Smith and Mary Kate Holland, the Lady Bobcats scored the next 10 of the game’s 13 points to send it into overtime.

“They’re the team,” Sumrall girls’ head coach Portland Brown said. “They pulled it out for us at the end even though they struggled at the beginning, but when they know we need them, they pull it out.”

Holland’s 3-pointer to cut the game to 45-40 was from NBA range, then Green hit a layup and a game-tying 3-pointer to make it a 45-45 game.

“I was just thinking about my seniors, because this was make it or break. I was just trying to give it all I had on the court,” Green said of her game-tying 3-pointer and game-winning free throw.

Girls – Poparville 61, Sumrall 51: A furious fourth-quarter run by the Lady Tornadoes wasn’t enough, as the Lady Hornets ended Purvis’ season in the first game of the Region 7-4A tournament, 61-51. Purvis scored 24 of its 51 points in the final frame, as it was only able to score 27 through the first three quarters.

“We hurt ourselves early,” Purvis head coach Michael Thornton said. “I thought in the second quarter it was a one possession game; it was 13-10. We turned it over, I think, three straight times. You have to give Poplarville credit. One of the advantages they have, they have three people who can score. We have not been consistent scores for the season.”

Poplarville jumped up to an early 19-10 lead midway through the second quarter, then it used a 17-2 run to close out the first half with a 29-14 advantage. The dominance continued in the third quarter when the Lady Hornets grabbed a 40-19 lead, but Purvis cut the deficit to 46-27 by the end of the third.

In the fourth quarter, Purvis’ Kennedy Hudson finally found a rhythm, scoring nine of her 13 points in the final eight minutes. That allowed the Lady Tornadoes to mount an impressive comeback, which saw the 19-point lead cut to 54-51. Purvis used the 19-2 run to get within one possession with more than two minutes left on the clock.

“(Hudson) did not have a good night until the fourth quarter,” Thornton said. “They really concentrated on stopping her. That hurt us some.”

However, Poplarville closed out the game with seven straight points to finish off the Lady Tornadoes.

“I thought we showed tremendous effort down the stretch and we didn’t quit,” Thornton said. “I didn’t think we played our best early, but I told the girls one of the things is you never quit, and it got to be 52-49 and we were in a one possession game. They made some shots down the stretch but I’m proud of the effort.”