For the third straight game, the Baylor basketball Lady Red Raiders found themselves in a crunch-time situation. This time, though, they walked away much happier with the result.
Kaleigh Clemons hit a runner in the lane with 5.3 seconds remaining, and the Lady Red Raiders defeated rival GPS 46-45 in a Division II-AA East/Middle Region matchup. The win doesn't make up for back-to-back losses against region foes Father Ryan and Pope John Paul II, but it could ease the pain.
Clemons flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 15 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Baylor coach John Gibson wanted the ball in the freshman point guard's hands at the end, and she was able to deliver when the team needed it most.
"Some of my teammates had never won against GPS," she said. "When it came down to it, I just became confident in myself and the team that we would get it done at the end."
The win snaps GPS's five-game win streak in the series, last won by Baylor on Jan. 26, 2010. It wasn't easy, either, as there were 14 lead changes -- eight in the fourth quarter and four in the final minute.
Abby Hubert led Baylor (10-9, 2-3) with 16 points, the primary beneficiary of attacks to the basket by Clemons, while eighth-grader Mya Long and freshman Crosby Huckaby finished with seven and six points.
"We're at the point now where the girls understand that we just found a way to win a game we didn't play well," Gibson said. "GPS played well; they broke us down defensively and we struggled to keep them under control.
"We just found a way to make a couple of plays down the stretch to win."
No lead was safe Thursday. GPS had a 7-0 second-quarter run to take a 24-21 edge going into the break, but Baylor responded with a 10-1 surge to start the third quarter and led until midway through the crazy fourth quarter.
Chappel Sharrock assisted Sydney Shutters to give the Bruisers the lead with 17 seconds remaining.
Sharrock finished with 12 points to lead the Bruisers (10-9, 2-3), while Farris and Shutters each had 11.
"The difference was just a play here and there, a shot here and there and a turnover here and there," GPS coach Susan Crownover said. "I thought the girls played well; Baylor just made a few more plays than we did.
"We got better tonight but just came up short."