Host Southport stole the ball and seized control of the game in one play on its way to a 68-52 girls basketball victory against scrappy Whiteland in the Southport Fieldhouse on Friday night.
Owning possession of the ball after trimming a double-digit deficit to just four points at 41-37 in the final minute of the third quarter, the Warriors were poised to close to within a basket.
But Southport’s quick guard duo of juniors Alexa Walker and Shayla Wright thwarted Whiteland’s momentum on the next play.
That’s when Walker swiped an errant pass and delivered the ball to Wright for a break-away layup to give the hosts a six-point edge heading into the final period.
“That was a huge play in the game,” said Southport coach Leah Enterline, whose ballclub snapped a three-game losing streak, improving to 4-7.
“But it was definitely a whole team win for us.”
Despite the loss, Whiteland coach Kyle Shipp applauded the Warriors’ effort.
“We got what we wanted,” Shipp said of his team’s methodical comeback effort. “It was small executions we needed here and there, but I’m proud of our girls.
“They really fought.”
From that point on, senior center Molly Bridges and the Cardinals took control, upping their advantage to 10 in less than 2½ minutes into the fourth quarter.
Bridges scored 13 of her team-high 20 points in the period.
The Warriors (1-10) did well to claw back into contention after piling up 20 turnovers along with almost as many fouls in the first half. Junior Madison Dotson scored seven points in the third quarter, including a three-point play to pull the visitors to within four.
Sophomore forward Kate White hit four 3-point baskets and tallied a game-best 21 points to pace the Warriors.
Dotson finished with 12 points in a substitute role.
Whiteland’s next game is on the road Tuesday against county rival Center Grove.