After 32 minutes of ups and downs, Keenan finished strong in the final minutes of its region matchup against rival Columbia to come out on top, 41-38.
“The important thing for us was to stick with our game,” said Raiders coach Reggie McLain. “Having Leon Hill in the middle, and her big defensive presence, that was key for us.”
The Raiders were led in scoring by Logan McDaniel, who posted 14 points, but Hill’s persistence on defense led to many second-chance points that helped unranked Keenan stay within reach.
Keenan had built a 35-28 lead in two minutes of fourth quarter play, but Amina Copeland posted six of her game-leading 16 points then to help Columbia take a 10-1 scoring run, and a 38-36 lead over the next three minutes.
“I thought the two teams were evenly matched, and when it’s a match like that, both teams are going to have runs,” Capitals coach Bobby Young said.
But Columbia had two crucial turnovers on consecutive possessions late in the game. The first, the Raiders used to feed Ja’Diamond Hickman for a 3-pointer to take the lead. The second was a forced turnover that Keenan guard DeMyra Rudder converted with a layup to set the final score with 53 seconds left.
“It was great to get that lead that helped us have more options and we felt we could handle it on defense,” McLain said.
“They started that last run and we didn’t make the plays on defense that we needed to stop that,” said Young, whose Capitals are ranked fifth in Class 2A.
The Capitals inbounded the ball with 1.9 seconds remaining, hoping to set a screen to give Delijah Robison an open 3-point shot at the buzzer. But Robinson was hit in the eye and stumbled, never getting off the shot.
“I feel like both teams played too well to lose, but somebody had to lose,” Young said.
The Capitals slipped into a 9-point hole early in the first period, but in the final minutes of the session, Brianna Roberts chopped into that lead. Less than a minute into the second quarter, Copeland all but erased the deficit with a backcourt steal and driving layup.
Columbia then took the lead on a 3-pointer from Robison. She added five more points to keep the Capitals in front, but their lead never passed three points.
Logan McDaniel knocked down a 3-pointer to knot the score at 22, where it stood at halftime. Keenan saw a six-point lead come and go in the third quarter, and the game was again tied, at 28, going into the fourth quarter.
K: Rudder 7, Logan McDaniel 14, Young 4, L. Hill 4, Ja’Diamond Hickman 8, I. Hill 4. C: Amina Copeland 16, Roberts 8, Robinson 9, Straw 5.