Lady Cardinals grab region win over St. Joseph’s

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Landrum girls’ basketball team won the Region II-1A championship on Friday with a 49-46 win over St. Joseph’s. The Lady Cardinals hoisted the trophy after a dramatic double overtime victory in a one-game playoff for the region title.

by Joey Millwood
As the seconds ticked off the clock Friday night, the momentum seemed to be with St. Joseph’s. Landrum’s back was against the wall. Landrum and the Lady Knights were in a one-game playoff for the Region II-1A championship and the Lady Cardinals would eventually win 49-46, but not without some drama.
The Lady Cardinals were up late in the fourth quarter, but a shot by Elizabeth Moore in the final seconds set the game into overtime.
St. Joseph’s Cara Mohr hit five free throws to start overtime to give St. Joseph’s the 43-40 lead in overtime.
The drama, however, was just beginning. With 22.3 left on the clock, Landrum guard Lauren Pitts rattled home a three-point basket from the top of the key to tie the game at 43. The Lady Cardinals had a chance to close out the game, but with three seconds left on the clock, St. Joseph’s Megan Heijjer was fouled. She went to the free throw line, but couldn’t sink her two free throws that would have sealed the deal.
The game was going into a second overtime.
“I knew then we were going to win,” Pitts said.
Pitts proved to be prophetic.
Sydnie Brown continued the momentum in the second overtime.  In the first minute she had a steal and four points to give Landrum the lead.
“I just knew we had to get something going,” she said. “We were wearing them down. We knew it. They knew it.”
The Lady Cardinals (15-10, 11-3) got two more points off of free throws by Becca Burress to close out the 49-46 victory. Atkins led all scorers with 14 points. Brown added 10 points and Pitts scored nine. Moore led the way for St. Joseph’s with 12.
The scene that played out was like something from a movie – a real life version of an underdog story.
The Lady Cardinals overcame early season struggles and found themselves in a place that not too many would’ve projected for them at the start of the season. Landrum lost its top two scorers and leaders in Amber Whiteside and Jordan Jenkins. Landrum has three seniors on the squad and only one of those played basketball last season.
The odds were against them, but the Lady Cardinals defied it all and hoisted their first region championship trophy since 2007.
Landrum beat St. Joseph’s last week after coming from behind in the fourth quarter. Landrum coach Deon Brice knew it was going to be a war in the rubber match, which was a one-game playoff to decide the region championship after a three-way tie in the regular season. Blacksburg was the third team, but was eliminated on a tie breaker.
As he sat there and thought back on the roller coaster season, Brice said, “They’ve grown by leaps and bounds. They just have to believe. Expect the unexpected and believe.”