With six seconds on the clock and possession of the ball near their bench, East Side head coach Leroy Cotton called a time-out to give his Trojanettes a chance to win.
Trailing 54-53 to the Ruleville Central Lady Tigers, the play was going to have to be something quick and toward the basket. Out of the East Side time-out, Ruleville coach Chiquita Bracey saw the offensive set and called a timeout of her own to get her defense lined-up properly.
On the court for East Side were 6-foot-3 Lashawn Palmer in the post and quick Carvacier Sanders in the corner. Defensively, the Lady Tigers defended the inbound options well as they covered those players up. The ball ended up going to freshman Shammia Love. Love put her head down and the lefty drove left and shot her running floater off the glass with 2.3 seconds left on the clock to give East Side the lead.
Bracey started calling for a time-out frantically, but the officials never saw or heard the coach apparently as time expired to give the Trojanettes a 55-54 win.
East Side improved to 10-5 overall with a 2-1 mark in Region 3-3A. Ruleville fell to 12-6 with a 3-1 mark in the region.
Coach Cotton said the winning basket was an example of good play from Love.
"The play was designed to give Palmer a look at the basket or get something to Carvacier,” Cotton explained. “We had a breakdown and Ruleville did a great job of covering what we wanted up, so Shammia just adlibbed and drove the ball and made the basket.”
Bracey said the contest was a good one, but she believes her team let East Side off the hook.
"They made some big shots down the stretch and played good defense, but we have to be able to control and take care of the basketball when we have a lead with under a minute left to play,” Bracey said. “We have to put a whole game together where we learn how to close teams out.”
East Side could not take full advantage of its size advantage inside for most of the night as they missed countless shot attempts in the lane.
Although Ruleville struggled mightily to rebound the ball and score in the paint in the half court, they shot the three-point ball well, particularly in the first half.
When the fourth quarter, hit the teams were locked in a tight battle.
With 2:36 left in the contest Ruleville held a 51-47 lead. Sanders made a free throw with 1:37 on the clock for a 51-48 score, but Robrieka Finn knocked down two free throws with 57 seconds left to give Ruleville a 53-48 lead.
East Side's Keisha Cotton, who had struggled all night with her shooting, came through in the clutch as she knocked down a three-point shot with 40 seconds on the clock for a 53-51 score. After the basket was made, Cotton immediately called timeout.
On the next possession, Ruleville’s Shakira Singleton was fouled and made one free throw with 37.6 seconds remaining for a 54-51 game.
On East Side's next possession, Cotton was fouled and headed to the line for a one-and-one opportunity with 28.9-seconds remaining. Cotton knocked down both shots for a 54-53 game.
Ruleville had a chance to increase the lead, but Tateanna Collins missed both free throws. Good fortune struck the Lady Tigers, as Finn was able to grab the rebound off the missed free throw and after a tie-up the possession remained with Ruleville with under 25 seconds left on the clock.
Bad fortune struck for the Lady Tigers on the next possession as they were running out the clock, but drove the ball in the corner on the baseline and off an attempt to pass the ball to Miracle Fonzy in the post, Sanders came up with the steal and pushed the ball up court to set up the game winning shot by Love.
Sanders led East Side with 22 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Cotton with 12 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks.
Singleton led Ruleville with 17 points, followed by Finn with 15 points and Collins with 10 points in the win.
Ruleville will play O’Bannon on Tuesday, while East Side will play O’Bannon at East Side on Friday.