What started out as a dreadful shooting afternoon, wound up a nail biting, 18-15 overtime victory for the Smyrna Middle School girls' basketball team over Campus Community Middle School in a first round game of the 8th Annual Capital Classic.
"We had a tough start this afternoon, and for a while, we were wondering if we would score at all today," said a relieved Smyrna coach Karen Pritt. "It didn't help matters when Melena (Credle) got into early foul trouble and had to leave the game," she said.
For the first few minutes of the contest, neither team could find a scoring touch, and it took a while before Mikala Johnson hit a jumper for a 2-0 lead. Coreia Benson then hit a free throw and a lay-up to give the Lady Cougars a 7-0 lead deep into the second quarter. The Lady Eagles finally got on the scoreboard just before halftime when Tamia Mathias hit a three-pointer just before the buzzer to bring the score closer at 7-3.
The Eagles' Melena Credle sat out part of the second quarter and the entire third period when she got into foul trouble.
The tight defenses by both teams continued into the second half, causing poor shooting at both ends of the court. Benson and Shay Tolson each hit a basket for the Cougars in the third quarter and Mathias kept the Eagles close with 4 points to bring the score to 11-7.
Once Credle returned to the lineup, the Smyrna offense and defense stepped up the pace. Credle scored 4 points, and Mathias and Skylar Peacock each hit a free throw to bring the Eagles even with the Cougars at the end of regulation at 13-13, as Johnson had the only basket in the fourth quarter for Campus Community.
In the exciting overtime session, the only points the Cougars could score were on a pair of free throws by Benson. Naomi Bowser had one free throw and Credle had two baskets to lock down the victory.
"It wasn't pretty, but it was a win over a good team, and we'll take it, said Pritt.
Credle and Mathias each scored 8 points for Smyrna, while the Cougars' Benson led all scorers with 9 points.
Smyrna advances to a winners' bracket, and Campus Community will play in a consolation bracket.