Byng started pressing after a time out with 3:45 to play and that strategy — along with several big plays from Alexis Hill — got the Lady Pirates back in it. Alexis Hill stole the ball and fought past a Latta double team for a basket to spark her team. After another steal, she was fouled and hit two free throws with 3:16 to play to cut the LHS advantage to 30-29. The BHS press again forced a Latta turnover, but this time Byng would give the ball right back.
Young hit a free throw for Latta to make it 31-29 with 2:21 remaining, but Byng still couldn’t get a shot to fall for the tie or the lead.
And the Lady Panthers kept their cool.
“That’s one of the things I told them after the game. I was proud of the way they kept their composure,” Tinkler said.
Latta iced the game with six more free throws — two by Maria Priest at the 1:34 mark, two by Shelbey Parnacher with 51.7 ticks left and two more from Shiann Henderson with 17.7 remaining to push the Latta lead to 37-29.
“We hit some big throws right there at the very end,” Tinkler said.
Asya Tims — who had to be helped off the court with an injury early in the second quarter — scored with less than a second left to account for the final score.
“I thought our defense was great. We just couldn’t score enough in the end,” said Byng head coach Matt Fike. “I can’t fault their effort. I thought we played hard.”
Young finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four steals as Latta’s leader while Priest added eight points and five rebounds off the bench.
Alexis Hill continued her streak of strong outings with 16 points, six rebounds, two steals and four blocked shots to lead the Lady Pirates. Tatum Hill was next with six points.