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Women’s College Basketball: Lake County outlasts Prairie State

Prairie State's Mandie Green launches shot against Lake County. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media

Prairie State's Mandie Green launches a shot against Lake County. | Dennis Nelson/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 27, 2014 10:35PM



Drama reached a fever pitch during the final minute of Thursday’s Region IV contest between Lake County and Prairie State in Chicago Heights.

When the smoke cleared, Lake County came away with a 66-65 win and a berth in Sunday’s Region IV semifinals at Moraine Valley. Prairie State lost its sixth straight to finish the season 13-18.

“That’s an appropriate word,” Lake County coach Bill Braman said of the Lancers’ gutsy effort. “We started the season 5-14, so we’ve been playing hard and well as a group lately.”

It was the third straight win for the Lancers (13-15), who overcame 23 turnovers. Both teams combined for five turnovers over the final 58 seconds and two lead changes during the last 26 ticks.

“I wasn’t expecting that many turnovers,” Prairie State coach Jeff Boyd said. “The ladies played hard and gave a great effort. There were just a few too many mistakes in the game, especially at the end, that could have won us the game.”

Leading 64-61 with 58 seconds left, the Lancers turned it over on three consecutive possessions. A layup by Nijea Dixon cut the lead to 64-63 with 26 seconds left. After a turnover, Dixon nailed two free throws with 13 seconds left, giving the Pioneers a 65-64 lead.

However, Amanda Davis was fouled and hit two free throws to give the Lancers a 66-65 lead with seven seconds left. Prairie State turned the ball over, Davis missed a free throw and the Pioneers turned the ball over, again, to end the game.

“We hit a couple of free throws and got the interception at the end,” Braman said.

Dixon scored a game-high 25 points. Faith Foulks came up with her seventh double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Mandie Green added 12 points for the Pioneers.

“Playing with six players, I have to give them some type of lee way with the turnovers we had,” Boyd said. “I’m proud of these ladies because they gave everything they had.”

Lake County took leads of 11-4 and 17-11 midway through the first half. Prairie State chipped away and eventually tied it at 25 on two free throws by Foulks. Green’s putback just before the horn forged a 33-all halftime tie.

Lake County scored the first 13 points of the second half to establish command.

Prairie State turned the ball over seven times on its first nine possessions of the half. Davis’ jumper gave the Lancers their biggest lead of the game at 48-35 with 12:45 left in the half.

Prairie State outscored Lake County 15-2 over the next three minutes. Foulks’ two free throws tied it at 50 with 9:53 left in the game.

Lake County slowly pulled away as Davis’ baseline jumper gave the visitors a 64-57 lead with 4:10 to play. Prairie State scored the next eight points to take a 65-64 lead with 13 seconds left.



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