Lady Grangers rally late and win in overtime

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

By Kevin Eckleberry

Shania Woodard scored 29 points to lead LaGrange to a 47-45 overtime win over Grady. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News Woodard scored 29 points to lead LaGrange to a 47-45 overtime win over Grady. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

COLLEGE PARK – It was looking desperate.

With less than a minute remaining in Tuesday’s game against Grady, the LaGrange Lady Grangers were staring at a four-point deficit, and the prospect of heading into their holiday break with a four-game losing streak was looking all too real.

The Lady Grangers had plenty of fight left in them, though.

LaGrange rallied to tie the game at the end of regulation before beating Grady 47-45 in overtime in the War Eagle Classic at Woodward Academy.

The Lady Grangers improved to 6-4, and they won’t be on the court again on Jan. 5 when they play their Region 1-AAAAA opener against Hardaway.

In Tuesday’s game, the Lady Grangers had the lead for much of the game, but they found themselves trailing by four points with time winding down.

“We knew we had to do everything right,” LaGrange head coach Jan Fendley said. “We had to control each possession, we had to foul, we had to rebound.”

After getting within two, LaGrange fouled a Grady player to put her on the line.

Following two missed free throws, the Lady Grangers got the ball back with moments remaining, and Blair Herrod picked the ideal time to score her one and only basket of the game.

“Blair just dribbled it in and made a jumper to tie it up,” Fendley said. “Being down four with under a minute and to be able to come down and tie it up was huge.”

It was on to overtime, and Aryan Dozier hit a 3-pointer to give the Lady Grangers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

LaGrange got a big game from junior post player Shania Woodard, who scored 29 points and was 7-of-10 from the free-throw line.

Chnaireia Strozier added nine points, and no other LaGrange player had more than five points.

Woodard had the hot hand early.

In the first quarter, Woodard made four shots from the field, and she was 4-of-4 from the free-throw line to score 12 points as LaGrange surged to a 16-10 lead.

By the half, the Lady Grangers had extended their lead to 25-16.

Grady began its comeback in the third quarter when it outscored LaGrange 12-5 to make it a 30-28 game heading into the final period.

“We got into a little bit of foul trouble with Chnaireia and Aryan, and we pulled them out, and that’s sort of when they got back in it,” Fendley said. “Our players coming off the bench, they did a good job of keeping the game close until we could get them back in.”

Grady surged ahead in the final quarter before LaGrange staged its dramatic rally to tie it before putting it away in overtime.

Woodard scored seven points in the fourth quarter to help LaGrange stay in it.

“The only thing we didn’t do well was, we didn’t hit our free throws down the stretch,” said Fendley, whose team was 0-for-3 from the line in overtime. “We’ve still got to hit those. We could have kind of put it away with free throws.”

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports