LILBURN -- Sean Turley expected Parkview to attempt a deep pass with four seconds remaining in a tie game and he was right.
All the Rockdale County head coach could do was watch as junior Alana Moore intercepted the pass before dishing it off to freshman Lia Edwards, who knocked down the game-winning three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to hand the Bulldogs a stunning 61-58 victory over the Panthers.
“The one thing we didn’t want was that long pass at the end of the game for a layup,” Turley said. “We just stressed that in the timeout. It worked out well. (Alana) anticipated it well. That was a basketball play. It fell.”
For Edwards, the young freshman finished with 11 points and knew her game-winning shot had a good chance of going in at the buzzer when she released it.
“I knew that if I hit the glass on the backboard that it was going in,” Edwards said. “I was overjoyed. All of my teammates were celebrating and it was good for us to get together like that and show that we could do it as a team.”
The Bulldogs held a 53-50 advantage over the Panthers with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter, but with just under a minute remaining, the game was deadlocked at 55-all.
After splitting a pair of free throws to grab a 56-55 lead, the Panthers re-took its first lead since the 6:30 mark of the quarter on a Lilly Hart layup with 34 seconds remaining.
With a chance to go ahead with 16 seconds remaining, Rockdale freshman Nylah Williams stepped to the line for a pair of free throws but missed both.
The Panthers tacked on a free throw on the other end to take a 58-56 lead with 14 seconds remaining, but the Bulldogs responded with a layup from Williams on a feed from Edwards with seven seconds left in the game.
With the game tied at 58-all, Edwards’ game-winner secured the wild victory for the Bulldogs, who trailed for the entire second and third quarters. The Bulldogs entered the fourth quarter trailing the Panthers 46-41 and trailed by as many as eight points in the quarter before fighting their way back.
Moore finished the game with a team-high 20 points, 16 of which came in the games’ final two quarters. The junior also stole five passes in the game.
Freshman Madison Presha scored all 15 of her points in the first half while Williams chipped in with 11 points in the victory.
“It feels really good,” Turley said. “We’ve been on the wrong end of those shots before. We just have to keep pressing, keep working hard and play our style our basketball. I’m proud of them.”
Parkview (boys) 76, Rockdale County 63
LILBURN — A rough fourth quarter doomed Rockdale County Tuesday night in a tough 76-63 loss to Parkview on the road.
After taking a 6-5 lead over the Panthers midway through the first quarter, the Bulldogs never trailed until the 3:10 mark of the fourth quarter. The Panthers grabbed a 63-60 advantage and never looked back after out-scoring the Bulldogs 16-3 in the final three minutes of play.
“We started to panic when the score was 63-60,” Rockdale County head coach Tyrone King said. “We just kept digging a bigger hole. Kudos to Parkview coach Jon Collins. His guards did an amazing job today and they wanted it more.”
Foul trouble for Kevin Sesberry, the Bulldogs’ top performer Tuesday night was a leading cause for their struggles down the stretch in the eyes of King. Sesberry led all scorers on the Bulldogs with 19 points but managed just five in the second half.
Despite the loss, King can take several positives away from the game starting with their strong first-half play. The Bulldogs led the Panthers 20-12 at the end of the first quarter and led 36-32 at halftime.
“I’m really happy with their play in the first half,” King said. “We had a little bit of energy. I don’t know what happened to our energy at halftime. We’re just going to have to find ourselves and go back to the drawing board.”
Jheim McDonald chipped in with 13 points in the loss while sophomore Keishaun Whitner scored 12 on 5 of 6 shooting.