Jenks girls stun East Central on last-second shot
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Friday, January 25, 2013
JENKS – Taylor Nissley was in the game for defensive purposes, but the junior guard made the play of the year for the Jenks girls Friday night.
She went the length of the floor with a steal in the last four seconds, scoring a layup as time expired as the 6A No. 13 Trojans nipped 5A No. 2 East Central 42-40 in the semifinals of the Jenks/Union Invitational in the Frank Herald Gym.
Jessica Washington scored 21 points as the Trojans (10-6) advanced to play Union or Sapulpa in Saturday’s 7 p.m. tournament final at Jenks. Those teams met later Friday at the UMAC in the other semifinal.
Bria Pitts and Ariel Williams paced the Cards (12-5) with 12 and 11 points. East Central faces the Sapulpa-Union loser at 4 p.m. Saturday, also at Jenks.
Nissley was mobbed by her teammates after scoring the winning basket.
“It’s an awesome feeling to be in on the winning play,” she said.
Jenks coach Mandy Nightingale said: “I told her it’s probably the most exciting play I’ve seen seen in my `long’ coaching career.”
Nightingale is in her third year as a head coach and first at Jenks.
The Trojans trailed most of the way and rallied from a five-point deficit in the final 1:33 against the powerful Cards, who have finished runner-up for the past three Class 5A state titles.
“Both teams had their chances, but we made too many mistakes at the end. You’ve gotta execute,” East Central coach Samy Mack said.
Turnovers killed the Cards down the stretch. They led 40-35 after Williams’ drive with 2:56 left, but didn’t score another point.
East Central miscues led to Washington’s basket from the lane to make it 40-37 and Josie Halsmer’s tying 3-pointer with 1:03 left.
Washington rebounded a Williams miss and was fouled with 45.5 seconds left, but missed the front end of her 1-and-1 and the Cards had the ball.
They tried to work for a last shot, but the Trojans hadn’t gone over the foul limit and fouled three times, trying to slow them.
Following a timeout with 4.2 seconds left, the Cards inbounded from the right side, but Nissley cut in front of Williams to intercept and raced to the other end.
“I just got the ball and went. I didn't know how much time I had. I just thought about finishing the layup because Coach has been working us hard in practice on finishing layups,” she said.