After playing some tough non-region competition this season with the likes of Taylor County and Northside Warner Robins, the Lady Knights were looking to get a victory in region play against a 0-5 Eagles Landing team on Tuesday in McDonough. Last season the Lady Golden Eagles entered a game with the Lady Knights with an 0-4 record and knocked off Upson-Lee 46-36 to get their first victory of the season.
Unfortunately it was a little deja vu for head coach Bart Phillips and his Lady Knights, as they suffered a 56-52 loss to Eagles Landing on Tuesday night, giving the Lady Golden Eagles their first victory of the season for the second year in a row. The Lady Knights scored a season high 25 points in the fourth quarter, but their come back came up just short in the four-point loss.
“We missed plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half of the game,” said Phillip. “We gave them plenty of extra shots off of offensive rebounds. They were able to knock down some shots and open up a good size lead. By the time we started playing the way I know we can play, we had fell behind by 15 points. We played well in the fourth quarter and tied the game up, but they hit some free throws and we did not. We have to do a better job of starting fast, rather than trying to play catch-up in the fourth quarter.”
In the first quarter both teams struggled to do much of anything. It seemed at times as if even dribbling the basketball was a challenge for the two teams. Each team turned the ball over multiple times before a single point was scored, but at the end of the first quarter, it was Eagles Landing who held a slim 11-8 lead.
In the second quarter of play, the Lady Knights got some quality minutes off their bench from freshman Kyjha Kendall. The 6’2 post player contributed with some key offensive rebounds and put backs offensively for easy buckets. Kendall finished the contest in double figures with 10 points. However, it was the Lady Eagles’ point guard which caused problems for Upson-Lee. She was able to knock down two three-pointers in the quarter, and Eagles Landing led the Lady Knights 23-19 at halftime.
The third quarter was the turning point in the game. The Lady Knights played the first six minutes of the third quarter without scoring a single point. Eagles Landing took a commanding 37-19 lead on the Lady Knights, which ultimately sealed the Lady Knights’ fate.
However, from the 2:00 mark of the third quarter, Upson-Lee outscored Eagles Landing 31-19 throughout the rest of the game. With just 1:12 left in the contest and the Lady Knights trailing 50-48, senior Keondra Ausbrooks knocked down a jumper from the free throw line area to tie the ball game. Prior to the bucket by Ausbrooks, junior Kiashona Carter made three of four straight free throw attempts, as the Lady Golden Eagles had a player thrown out of the game for throwing a punch, giving UL the technical foul and the ball.
With the game tied, Eagles Landing took a 52-50 lead with just under a minute to go in the game on a jump shot from the corner. The Lady Knights could never answer, as Eagles Landing earned their first victory of the season by a 56-52 score.
Kiashona Carter paced the Lady Knights with 14 points, while junior LaQuasha Hutcherson added 11 points. Kendall finished in double digits with 10 points, Keondra Ausbrooks scored seven points, and Kia Willis added four points. Senior Jacarra Cherry tallied two points, and both Alexus Holston and Keera McMillion chipped in with one point in the loss.
The Lady Knights (1-7) will host the Lady Bulldogs from Dutchtown (5-1) tonight at the ULHS gymnasium. Tip off is slated for 6 p.m.