MOBILE, Ala. – Faulkner had most of a 19-point, second-half lead evaporate before a Spenser Cantrell 3-pointer at the shock-clock buzzer with less than a minute to play slammed the door on Spring Hill, allowing the Eagles to escape with a 78-70 victory here Saturday afternoon in a Southern States Athletic Conference West Division battle at the Outlaw Recreation Center.
The Lady Eagles (14-6 overall, 5-4 SSAC) led 62-43 with 12:33 to play when the Badgers starting slicing into the deficit. An April Bradford basket cut the lead to 75-70 with 1:22 on the clock and, after running the shot clock almost all the way out, Cantrell came off a screen and nailed the jumper that all but ended Spring Hill's hopes.
"We almost beg Spenser to shoot it at practice every day, and sometimes she just won't pull the trigger, but man did she hit a big one there," Faulkner head coach Reed Sutton said. "She's a great shooter, but is so unselfish on the floor too. At that moment we had to have it, and she had no time to think about it. Couldn't happen to a better person."
"The game seemed to be officiated a little differently in the second half, and I thought we did a poor job of adjusting. But there at the end I thought our players really stepped up and finished it off. This is a huge win for our team as we head into a big week."
Faulkner was paced by Brittney Carter's 26 points and 17 rebounds, while Christina Hayes added 14 and Vittoria Poole 10 for the Lady Eagles. Cantrell finished with eight points, four assists and two steals. Spring Hill (6-11 overall, 1-8 SSAC) had four players in double figures, led by the 14 points from Bradford. Bria Bohanon added 13, Sha Sha Buchanan 12 and Jackie Higgenbotham 11 for the Badgers.
The Lady Eagles led 14-12 with 12:19 to go in the half when Carter scored on four straight possessions to push the lead to double digits. The closest the Badgers could get the rest of the half was eight, with Faulkner's Katie Pavlik closing the first 20 minutes with a long 3-pointer to build the advantage to 37-24 at the break. Only poor shooting for the Lady Eagles from behind the arc kept it that close, with Faulkner only making two of 11 first-half attempts.
Faulkner hosts 18th-ranked Belhaven Thursday at Tine Davis Gymnasium. The game tips off at 5:30 p.m.