It wasn’t nearly the best basketball game Will Rogers’ girls have played this season, but it could have turned out a lot worse.
The Class 5A No. 2 Ropers lost most of a 13-point lead Friday but held on for a 59-55 win over No. 13 Edison in a battle of Green Country Conference unbeatens on the Eagles’ floor.
“That’s not the game we wanted to play, but we’re definitely glad we were able to pull it out,” said Ropers forward Devin Wright, who had 10 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Quinnae Love scored key points down the stretch and finished with 17 and Nakia Cullom added 15 points and six rebounds. The Ropers improved to 18-2 overall and took sole possession of first place in the conference with their 12th straight win.
Leona Williams, a senior who is still learning in her first year of basketball, had a monster night with 15 points and 16 rebounds to pace the Eagles. Edison trailed 22-9 in the second quarter but pulled to within a point of the lead on Mariah Smith’s three-point play with 3:59 left.
The Eagles never could get over the hump, but they were still within a point before Love slid around a defender and got to the rim for a layup and a 56-53 lead with 1:17 left. A few seconds later, she was fouled and made two free throws and it was 58-53.
Rogers coach Carlin Adkism said the Ropers never unleashed the defensive fury that has been their trademark in the winning streak, and credited the Eagles’ effort.
“Their kids fought hard and we had some mental lapses,” Adkism said. “We have to play better defense than that. We’ve got to be at the top of our game when the playoffs get here.”
Mariah Smith and Destiny Smith added 12 and 10, respectively, for the Eagles (12-6, 8-1), who still can win or share the league title by winning their final three conference games, including a visit to the Ropers’ gym on Feb. 18.
Will Rogers 63, Edison 50 (boys)
The No. 10 Ropers led the entire second half to give No. 4 Edison just its third loss of the season and knock the Eagles out of a first-place tie with Webster in the Green Country Conference.
Marcal Johnson and DeVonte Pruitt scored 14 each and Mikel Prince added 12 to lead the Ropers (12-8, 4-6), who had lost six of their previous nine games.
“It’s a good win tonight and we needed it,” Johnson said. “We had good chemistry and played good team basketball and knocked down our free throws at the end.”
Edison, trailing by nine early in the third quarter, pulled to within two at 36-34, but Pruitt scored seven of the next nine points and Johnson had two free throws in a 12-0 run that put the Ropers in control.
WILL ROGERS 59, EDISON 55 (GIRLS)
Will Rogers 9 20 16 14 — 59
Edison 6 13 16 20 — 55
Will Rogers (18-2, 10-0): Quinnae Love 17, Nakia Cullom 15, Devin Wright 10, Jordan Payne 8, Natorie Graham 7, Daijean Floyd 2.
Edison (12-6, 8-1): Leona Williams 15, Mariah Smith 12, Destiny Smith 10, Taniya Tease 9, Makenzie Davis 6, Samya Crosslen 2, Myia Malone 1.
WILL ROGERS 63, EDISON 50 (BOYS)
Will Rogers 12 11 21 19 — 63
Edison 15 5 14 16 — 50
Will Rogers (12-8, 4-6): Marcal Johnson 14, DeVonte Pruitt 14, Mikel Prince 12, Harrison Lewis 11, Deaven Wallace 9, Marcal Sutton 6
Edison (15-3, 7-2): Brandon Stewart 17, Loddie Combs 9, Mason Alexander 8, Luke Parrish 8, Quentin Asberry 6, Scout Huggins 2.