NMHS took a seven point lead at halftime only to see it disappear in the third quarter. However, after even play through the first overtime, the Lady Jags pulled away in double-OT for a 49-46 victory.
“We played really well defensively early on but we have not learned how to close out games yet,” said New Manchester coach Josh Martin. “But we were able to pick our intensity back up and with the help of our freshman [Deesha Brefford] we were able to fight for the win.”
The Lady Jag defense was outstanding early in the game, outscoring South Paulding 7-3 in the first quarter and 7-4 in the second. However, South Paulding came out firing in the third quarter, and tied the game with a 15-8 run.
In the fourth quarter, New Manchester found themselves down quickly and trailed by six with two minutes to play.
Despite being down, Martin felt his team was not out yet.
“For the first time all season we did not have a defeated look,” he said. “They started to believe they could win.”
Brefford started the comeback wit a 3-pointer and an Alyssa Harris bucket with 14 second remaining tied the game at 36-36.
In the first overtime it was the Lady Jags who took a lead early but could not hold on. With just second remaining, South Paulding forced a turnover and then hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 44-44.
“We had the ball and could have ended it,” Martin said. “But instead of holding on to it we decided to dribble and they were able to get the steal.”
The second overtime would be mostly New Manchester. Brefford gave NMHS a two point lead with a nice little runner in the lane.
Harris capped off the second OT period with a bucket and the Lady Jags held on for the win.
Brefford scored a game high 22 points. She has consistently been the team’s leading scorer game after game, which earned her a team captain honor entering Friday’s game.
“She shot well from outside and really came through for us,” Martin said. “I was happy to see her experience the victory as a team captain.”
New Manchester hosts a non region game against Newnan today. Games start at 6 p.m. Because of the double overtime, game information for the Jaguar boys was not available by deadline. They lost to South Paulding 53-52.