Eaglettes win program’s first-ever region title
By Sparta Live | March 2, 2014 12:00 am
This year’s version of the Van Buren County Eaglettes have ventured where none of the prior VBCHS girls’ teams before them have gone before.
With their thrilling 50-48 win over CSAS on their home floor Wednesday night in Chattanooga, the Eaglettes captured the girls’ program’s first ever region title.
Behind a double-double from Region 3A tournament Most Valuable Player, Lakelyn Bouldin, Van Buren County held off the homestanding Lady Patriots for their third win of the season over CSAS. In addition to attaining the Region 3A title, the Eaglettes also ensured themselves of a home sectional game.
Neither team was able to take complete control of the game although both teams enjoyed leads. CSAS led by as many as seven points early in the game while Van Buren led by six late in the contest. The score was tied five teams and the lead changed hands 12 times. Eight of those lead changes were in the third quarter.
The contest was a very physical one with CSAS making things tough on the Eaglettes each time they shot the ball.
Coach Cheryl Cole commented on that aspect of the game, “I actually prefer a more physical game. I want the officials to let them play instead of calling ticky-tack fouls. Most of my girls handle it well. I have a few that might back off a little, but that’s something we work on. We work on taking it to the basket and not being afraid of the contact.”
With Van Buren having trouble getting the ball to go through the hoop, the Lady Patriots jumped to a 9-2 lead in the first four minutes. The lone Van Buren basket of the game to that point was an offensive putback by Allison McCoy, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Bouldin, who netted 20 points and 14 rebounds, broke the scoring slump for the Eaglettes with a four-point play at the 2:48 mark. That started VBHS on an 11-2 run over the remainder of the quarter. A McCoy jumper at the end of the frame gave Van Buren the 13-11 lead at the end of one.
One of two free throws by Shelby Christian at the start of the second period pushed the Van Buren lead to three, but CSAS countered with a 6-0 run putting them up by three. A three-point play by Bouldin would knot the score at 19 with 3:33 left in the half. CSAS closed out the quarter with a 5-2 run and took a 24-21 advantage into the half.
The Lady Patriots ran their advantage to five points with the first basket of the second half. With CSAS leading 29-25, a basket by Bouldin and a three pointer by Carly Cole put VBCHS back on top for the first time since the start of the second quarter.
The teams traded baskets for most of the remainder of the period and started the final eight minutes of action exactly where they started – even. The score was tied at 37 after three complete quarters of action.
Early turnovers in the fourth quarter allowed CSAS to take the lead again and they would lead by as many as four.
Three pointers by Cole and Bouldin put Van Buren back up. They led 45-43 with 4:22 left to play.
An offensive rebound putback by Christian and a pair of free throws by Bouldin gave the Eaglettes their largest lead of the game, 49-43, with 2:41 left in the contest. Christian’s offensive putback with 3:20 left would be the final Van Buren field goal of the game.
The Lady Patriots cut the Van Buren lead in half when they banked in a three pointer 15 seconds later. The Eaglettes missed on their next possession and then the teams traded turnovers. A CSAS lay-up with one minute remaining pulled the Lady Patriots to within a point.
After a missed front end of a bonus situation by Van Buren, CSAS missed on their end and Cole pulled down the rebound and was fouled. She connected on one of two free throws for the final points of the game, but there was plenty of drama the rest of the way.
CSAS had several chances to tie or take the lead. In fact on their final possession with 8.9 seconds, the rebound was batted around several times and Bouldin finally pulled in the loose ball on the floor and time ticked away as the Eaglettes escaped with the two-point victory and the region championship.
Van Buren finished the game eight of 15 from the free throw line while CSAS went three of seven. VBHS hit four threes, two each from Cole and Bouldin. The Lady Patriots connected on three treys.
In addition to Bouldin’s double-double, Shelby Christian added seven points and 10 rebounds. McCoy had 12 points and seven rebounds. Carly Cole tallied seven points and five rebounds. Shelene Hitchcock added four points.
Of the first region title in school history, Coach Cole noted, “I’ve told these girls ever since I coached them in elementary school that they could make history. They proved they could do it tonight.”