“We needed this win against a very good Coastal basketball team to stay in the hunt for the SSAC championship,” admitted Rowe after his team’s impressive 74-61 road victory.
The Lady Flames collected their 20th win of the year against only two defeats and at the same time improved to 10-2 in the conference standings. Coastal Georgia dropped to 18-7 overall and 10-5 in SSAC play.
The Lady Flames led from start to finish but could never completely separate themselves until the final four minutes of the hotly contested contest. A sizzling hot Jenna Adams (23 points, eight rebounds) led the Lee assault, while Hollie German (22 points) helped put the Lady Flames on top, 39-33 at the break with 16 points.
“It was a complete team effort and I believe our best overall performance of the season,” stated Rowe. “We got a solid effort out of every individual who played tonight and this was the kind of effort we expect from this basketball team. We had a lot of players who were not feeling well, but they gutted it out and helped produce a big road win.”
Mariah Iles finished with 14 points and four rebounds, while Julia Zimmerman continued her hot shooting from behind the 3-point arc and knocked down four treys to finish with 12 points. “Rachel Lockhart, Mary Jackson and Melanie Barker all came in and give us some good minutes,” praised Rowe.
Lee made 26-of-50 shots from the floor (52 percent). Rowe’s crew went behind the 3-point line and converted 11-of-24 (46 percent) and made 11-of-18 free throws. Turnovers (18) were one of the few areas that allowed the Mariners to stay close.
Only one Coastal Georgia player finished in double-figure scoring. Courtney Saunds tossed in 16 points. Margaret Harvey and Crystal Chaney had nine apiece, while Madel Madden totaled seven points. The Mariners shot 41 percent from the floor (19-of-26). While the Lady Flames were sinking 11 treys, Coastal was only able to connect on 2-of-8. However, it did convert 21-of-24 charity tosses.
The Lady Flames will continue striving towards their goal of a conference championship on Thursday when they host Southern Wesleyan in an SSAC contest slated for a 6 p.m. start. On Saturday at 2 p.m. they will face another tough test when Emmanuel College visits Walker Arena.
Lee outscored host Coastal Georgia 50-31 in the second half and coasted to its 22nd win of the year against just one defeat on Monday evening in Coffin Gymnasium.
The Flames, ranked second nationally in the NAIA poll, led only by a 33-20 margin at halftime but put the SSAC contest completely out of reach by midway of the second 20 minutes. Only two Lee players scored in double digits, but seven others tallied in the convincing 83-51 victory.
Will Barnes paced the high-powered Lee attack with 23 points. He was 3-of-6 from behind the arc and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. Barnes improved his season average to 21 points per game. Chase Dunn followed closely with 19 points. It was Dunn who led the second-half surge by knocking down five 3-point shots. He only missed three treys the entire contest.
“It was good to see Chase stroking the threes again,” said coach Tommy Brown after the win. “He had not been shooting the basketball well as of late and getting him going makes us an even better basketball team. We had a few turnover problems but overall I was pleased with the 32-point victory.”
Steve Bennett had nine points and eight rebounds, while Jamorris Gaines and Corey Billingsley tallied eight points apiece. “We’ve got to find a way to get Corey going earlier in the games,” said Brown. “He usually gets off to a slow start but then picks up the pace.”
Chad Lee pulled down five rebounds and Patrick Shaughnessy totaled six points. The Mariners actually won the battle of the boards 35-31. Lee shot 50 percent from the field (30-of-60). The Flames also knocked down 11-of-24 treys (46 percent) and converted 12-of-15 free throws.
The defense held Coastal Georgia to only 34 percent shooting from the floor, but the host club did hit 5-of-12 3-pointers (42 percent). Reggie Burke had 14 points for the losers and PJ Reason totaled 14. The Mariners were awarded 20 free throws and made 14. Lee outscored Coastal 38-16 in points in the paint and 21-9 in scoring off the bench.
The Flames return to Walker Arena on Thursday and will host Southern Wesleyan in an 8 p.m. start. On Saturday, 10th-ranked Emmanuel College visits in a key battle slated for a 4 p.m. tip-off.