WHITE HALL — Heading into the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s Watson Chapel-White Hall girls game, a 59-50 final score would not have surprised many people.
The Lady Bulldogs had held a nearly 10-point lead for a majority of the game, including a 44-33 lead going into the final period.
Nobody could have predicted — although many will likely claim they did — Chapel outscoring White Hall 26-6 in the fourth quarter to grab a nine-point win at White Hall High School.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so proud of our girls,” said Chapel head coach Leslie Henderson. “… We knew we needed to start our comeback attempt at the end of the third quarter.
“We just fed off every basket we made.”
White Hall (12-5, 4-2 in 5A-South Conference) held its biggest lead of the night at 40-25 before Chapel closed the third quarter on an 8-4 run.
The momentum carried over with the Lady Wildcats (9-9, 4-2) scoring 15 of the next 19 points to knot the score at 48-all.
White Hall, which made just one field goal in the fourth quarter, regained the lead on an Alexis Winston free throw with 3:15 to play.
Chapel took the lead for good on two free throws by Kierra Cox, who finished with 17 points. The foul shots kick started an 11-1 run to close out the game for the Lady Wildcats.
Cox hit a layup and LaDajah Scott knocked down a three-pointer to give Chapel a 55-49 lead with about 1:30 to go.
Another free throw by Winston pulled the Lady Bulldogs within five, but Timesha Cole and Peyton Martin, who scored a game-high 18 points, hit their free throws down the stretch.
“They turned the heat up and we didn’t respond the way we have been,” said White Hall head coach Mike Upshaw. “We had several breakaway opportunities and couldn’t convert.
“They just got on a roll. … I thought we just didn’t answer the challenge.”
The Lady Bulldogs appeared to be in complete control of the game in the early stages.
Seniors Lindsey Williams and Hailey Wilkins were knocking down shots to help White Hall grab a 16-10 lead after the first quarter.
JaeLisa Allen got going in the second quarter as the Lady Bulldogs took a 31-20 lead into halftime.
“I just couldn’t believe we were just down 11,” Henderson said. “As hot as they were.”
Allen kept up the pressure scoring six of her 13 points in the third quarter, but Williams and Wilkins began to falter after the break. Williams scored just three of her 13 after halftime, while Wilkins had just one of her 11 in the second half.
On the other side, Cox and Martin began to heat up, combing for 20 in the second half.
Asked to guard Allen, Martin, a freshman, impressed on the defensive end, as well.
“Obviously, she had a big challenge ahead of her,” Henderson said. “She had to try and contain her and stay in front of her.
“She also did an excellent job rebounding and scoring down low.”
Scott also stepped up for Chapel, scoring 14 points off the bench.
“That’s what we need,” Henderson said of Scott’s production. “She went out there with intensity.
“I told her yesterday, ‘We need you. We got to have you.’”