INDEPENDENCE, Kan. - Looking to end the semester on a high note, the Independence Lady Pirates returned home to host the Pratt Beavers in the final game before Christmas break. The game was tight-knit all the way to the end, but the Lady Pirates fell victim to a second half turnaround from the Beavers, 53-52.
In the first quarter, the Beavers opened with a three-pointer from Janell Douvier for the early lead, but Independence cut the lead down to one with a quick bucket by Mychaell Gray who then gave the Lady Pirates the lead at 5-3 after a long shot from downtown.
Brittany Reeves found the basket and pushed the lead to four, but a bucket by Courtney Cleveland made the score 7-5 at the 6:15 mark. A quick shot by Sadie Jordan pushed the lead back to four and then six after a bucket by Jessica Goodluck.
The score was pushed to 14-5 after a three-pointer by Macie Price and Pratt matched it, but a jumper from Victoria Mikkelsen pushed the lead back to nine. The Beavers found a quick three-pointer to draw within six, but a foul sent Mikkelsen to the line where she made two shots for an eight-point lead. Pratt ended the quarter down by six after a running jumper by Dymond McElrath and the Lady Pirates took a 18-12 lead into the final minutes of the first half.
The second quarter began with a bucket from Cleveland cutting the lead to four, but it was quickly back to six after a layup by Fatarah Kinnard. A three-pointer by Douvier made the score 20-17 and then tied at 20-20 after another long shot. with 6:28 remaining in the half.
A foul sent Gray to the free throw line to make two shots for the lead, but a foul on the other end resulted in shots by Cleveland to tie the game at 22-22. Two free throws by Kierra Crockett regained the lead for Independence and a three-pointer from Goodluck had thee Lady Pirates leading 27-22 with 4:00 remaining in the half.
A bucket by Cleveland cut the lead to three and a foul sent ChaDricka Pickett to the line making only one to make the score 27-25 with 2:00 left in the half. Independence closed out the first half with a three-pointer from Gray and led 30-25 going into the locker room.
In the third quarter, several missed opportunities denied both teams baskets, but a bank shot by Crockett made it 32-25 Independence at the 7:15 mark. A bucket by Cleveland cut the lead back to five, but Crockett answered with a three-point play after a foul making the score 35-27.
A bucket by Jazmin George cut the lead to six, but Crockett found a window of opportunity down low for a bucket making it 37-29 Lady Pirates at the 3:45 mark. Independence pushed the lead to ten points after a bucket from Jordan, but a 3-0 run after free throws from Eva Sanchez and Rachel Tippens had the score 39-32. A bucket by Goodluck pushed the lead back to nine and the Lady Pirates led 41-32 going into the final minutes of play.
The fourth quarter began with a bucket by Douvier followed by a layup from Cleveland to bring the Beavers within five. Pratt continued to close the gap after a bank shot three-pointer and then tied it at 41-41 with back to back buckets from Cleveland.
Cleveland found an open basket to give Pratt a two-point lead, but a foul sent Crockett to the line to tie it at 43-43 with 6:45 remaining. A steal by Crockett answered a free throw to give the Lady Pirates a one-point advantage, but a basket from Cleveland had Pratt ahead 46-45 with 4:00 remaining.
Two free throws from Cleveland pushed the lead to three, but a foul cut it tone after two shots from the line for Crockett. Pratt extended the score to 51-47 after a three-pointer from Rylee Alexander, but Goodluck would respond with one of her own to cut it back to one before a layup from Cleveland. Free throws from Reeves cut the lead back to one for the Beavers and the Lady Pirates had several opportunities to score at the buzzer, but were unable to find an answer falling by just one point.
Independence (6-6, 1-4) is back in action Saturday January 5 traveling to face the Garden City BroncBusters with tip-off set for 2 pm.