West girls hold on to beat Concord

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 8, 2014

CONCORD — It shouldn’t have come down to Khaila Hall stealing the ball with 10 seconds to play for West Rowan’s girls to squeeze past last-place Concord on Friday.
But she did. And they did. And the Falcons’ 55-53 double-overtime SPC win — while not a work of beauty — was worth celebrating.
“It shouldn’t have gone that long, but I’m glad it did,” Hall said after tossing in 17 points. “It woke everybody up. For the first time in a long time, the girls all said that game was fun.”
It was a game that made terrible art but terrific drama. West (7-15, 5-9) seemingly had the game won after Hall spun in for a layup that provided 37-26 lead with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter. But Concord (2-18, 1-13) charged back over the final 10 minutes, scored the last nine points in regulation and forced OT when power forward Jada Black muscled in for a game-tying layup.
“It was a gut-check,” exhausted West coach Ashley Poole said after the Falcons snapped a four-game skid. “We’ve talked about teamwork and playing together all season long. We finally saw it tonight. That’s the loudest our bench has been all year.”
West grabbed a 47-45 lead late in the first overtime when Shanise Miller made a basket from the right side. And the party was about to start when Hall converted both ends of a one-and-one for a 49-46 edge with 4.1 seconds to go.
But Concord answered in the frantic closing seconds. Guard Danica Ford, the only junior on the Spiders’ all-underclassmen roster, knocked down a 3-pointer from the left rim as the buzzer blared, turning the Concord cheering section into a human trampoline.
“What a shot!” Miller smiled. “I never thought she’d hit that. But they were shooting a lot of deep threes.”
In the second overtime Hall took a well-threaded pass from teammate Berkley Alessandrini and sank a layup that put West ahead for keeps.
“You’ve got to be in these kind of games to learn how to win these kind of games,” said CHS coach Angela Morton. “We’ve got nothing to play for — we’re not even in the conference tournament — and look how hard we played.”
Hall had a similar reaction. “We needed this,” she said. “Now we’re ready for the postseason. This game gave us confidence. We’ve have some girls scared to play hard, but everybody showed up today.”
W. ROWAN (55) — Hall 17, S.Miller 14, Cowan 9, Lovell 8, Alessandrini 5, Q.Miller 2, Goddard, Greene, Yow.
CONCORD (53) — Black 23, Ford 12, Thomas 7, Cannady 5, Patton 4, Williams 2.
W. Rowan 9 14 17 5 4 6 — 55
Concord 7 9 16 14 4 4 — 53