Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tigerville, S.C.—The Crusaders had four players in double figures, including Alisha Hope who had 31, and the North Greenville bench outscored the Barton bench 26-12, helping North Greenville past the Barton Bulldogs 101-96, in a thrilling overtime win on Saturday afternoon in Hayes Gymnasium.

Also in double figures for the Crusaders was Timisty Nelson with 23 points, and Emily Wampler who added a career high 17 points, aiding the NGU cause. Wampler was 3-5 from, three, and 6-10 overall, with eight rebounds. Jaquazha Barrino   added 10 points and led NGU with eight rebounds.

The Crusaders put together their most complete offensive performance of the year, finishing the game with a season high 52% from the field, and 60% from beyond the three point arch. Five different players hit a three for North Greenville on Saturday, including Hope, Krisceda Cotton, and Emily Wampler who hit multiple shots from beyond the arch.

The two teams battled back in the fourth half to the tune of ten lead changes and eight ties. The Bulldogs looked to take a slim two point lead into halftime, but Emily Wampler hooked up with Timisty Nelson with eight seconds left, to even the tally at 42-42. Barton had a chance to take the lead, but missed three shots in the final six seconds, keeping the score at 42 as the teams headed to intermission.

Barton came out in the second half firing on all cylinders, taking a quick six point lead, three minutes and 15 seconds into the second half. NGU would trail until the 14:20 mark on the clock. Two Nelson free throws would force the 10th tie of the game at 53 all. North Greenville would then take control of the game, leading by as many as 10 points, the biggest lead for either team. The Crusaders would cling to that lead until Barton turned the tables late, finally regaining an 86-85 lead with just over two minutes left to play.

Each team would hold the lead once more in the final two minutes of play. Each team had chances to win in the final seconds. The Crusaders tied the score at 90 as Alisha Hope hit the front end of a pair of free throws. Barton would take its chance, but came up short, turning the ball over on a jump ball. North Greenville would have dibs on the last shot, but a Wampler three from the corner as time expired would be just long, forcing overtime.

The Crusaders wasted little time retaking the lead in the extra period, as NGU scored the first five points out of the gate. NGU would never trail in the OT period, and lead by as many as six. The Bulldogs cut the North Greenville lead to three points with 53 seconds left, but were unable to capitalize any further as the Crusaders kept them  at arms-length, finally icing the game with a pair of TImisty Nelson free throws that gave North Greenville the 101-96 lead with 33 seconds left on the clock. Barton would fail to score on their final possession of the game, as NGU would improve to 7-13 overall, but more importantly, 3-9 in Conference Carolinas play, keeping them in the driver’s seat to take the final playoff spot.

The Crusaders will travel to Bristol, Tennessee on February 10th for their makeup game with King University. The trip to Bristol will be North Greenville’s second to last road game of the season as it prepares to wrap the 2013-2014 up. The tip between NGU and the Tornado is scheduled for 5:30pm.