Sheridan’s Brittney Johnson only took two free throws against Watson Chapel on Tuesday, but the junior forward knocked them down.
Johnson’s free throws with 27.9 seconds remaining helped the Lady Yellowjackets top the Lady Wildcats, 48-43, at Watson Chapel High School.
The free throws came after she rebounded a missed free throw by teammate Kadesha Cooper with Sheridan (3-2) clinging to a 44-43 lead.
After Johnson’s clutch free throws, Chapel’s Megan Moore missed a shot that would have cut the deficit to one point. Cooper grabbed the rebound but missed the front-end of a one-and-one that would have made it a four-point game.
With a chance to tie the game, the Lady Wildcats (2-6) had an inbounds pass picked off by Cooper and she knocked down a pair of freebies to give the Lady Yellowjackets some breathing room.
Cooper came out firing early as the junior knocked down two three-pointers in the opening quarter en route to 15 points. For the most part, though, both teams struggled in the first half.
Sheridan took a 14-10 lead into the second quarter, but Chapel scored the first 11 points of the frame to take a 21-14 lead. The Lady Yellowjackets responded with an 8-2 to close the half and head into the locker room down by just one point at 23-22.
“We’ve been off about a week and a half to two weeks,” said Sheridan head coach Brian Davenport. “I knew we’d have a little rust.
“It took us a while, but eventually we were able to stay close and then started getting the rust off.”
In the third quarter, Sheridan was able to start clicking on offense as they outscored Chapel 15-9 to open up a 37-32 lead heading into the final quarter.
“I watched their zone and they were spread out,” Davenport said. “So at halftime I told Hannah (Schultz) we were going to start getting her more touches. She’s had a really good year.
“That really opened up our perimeter.”
Schultz scored 10 of her game-high 17 points in the second half.
Lauren Mitchell knocked down a pair of treys in the third quarter, while Cooper and Ashton Hill each connected from deep once in the second half.
Despite the loss, Chapel head coach Leslie Henderson said she liked the way her team played defensively.
“I thought we did very well,” she said. “Coming into the game we decided to change (our defense) up.”
In fact, Henderson felt the turning point in the game came when Davenport changed up his defense.
“When they went to the 1-3-1, I thought that was a game-changer,” she said. “We really struggled against it, but we made some good passes, too.
“We started off rebounding really well — I thought Peyton Martin did an outstanding job rebounding — but then our rebounding went stale and we kind of went into a lull.”