ATLANTA – Junior guard Jahpera McEachin of the LaGrange College women's basketball team scored the game-winning runner on the left side of the lane with four seconds remaining in a 67-65 win over Berry at the SAA/USA South Classic on Sunday at Oglethorpe.
McEachin, who scored a career-high 25 points on Saturday against Oglethorpe, finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the floor. The win was the Panthers (1-1) first of the season. Berry fell to 0-2, as Madison Wilder led the way with a game-high 32 points.
"This was truly a team win," said McEachin. "Everyone did their job for us, offensively and defensively, to come out on top."
Panthers senior captain Mykelli Taylor compiled a career-high 16 points, while tying a career-best with seven rebounds. She went 4-for-9 from the floor, 3-for-7 from downtown and 5-for-6 from the line. Junior center Nadia Montour finished with career-highs of 15 points and eight boards off the bench, going 6-for-10 from the floor.
- A made layup by McEachin gave the Panthers a 9-6 advantage with 5:52 left in the first quarter. The Vikings responded with a 12-5 run, taking an 18-14 lead on a layup by Eveline Parsons with 1:17 remaining.
- Montour cashed in on an old-fashioned, 3-point play with 7:31 left in the second quarter, giving LaGrange a 24-22 advantage.
- Taylor drilled back-to-back, 3-point shots in the second quarter, as the first one was a right-wing trey off an inbounds pass by senior captain Sadie Desroches. The second one also came on the right wing, assisted by sophomore guard Jada Brown, as it pushed the Panthers' lead to 30-25 with 2:53 left.
- A right-baseline jumper by junior guard Daijah Cousins put the Panthers in front, 33-28, with 1:18 on the clock, as the squad led, 33-31, at halftime.
- Panthers senior captain Sarah Evans was fouled on a strong post move 1:53 into the third quarter. She proceeded to make the two free throws, cutting Berry's lead down to 36-35.
- Desroches penetrated down the lane and found a wide-open Taylor for a left-of-the-arc three-ball with six minutes left in the third, pulling the Panthers to within one at 39-38.
- Panthers freshman guard Catherine Skebo buried her first career points with 10 seconds left in the third, netting a right-of-the-arc, 3-point shot. The shot gave LaGrange the lead at 45-44, which was its first lead since 33-31. Prior to Skebo's 3-pointer, neither team scored for a period of three minutes, nine seconds.
- Taylor made an exceptional entry pass with 7:18 left in the fourth, floating the ball over the defense to Montour for an easy layup, trimming the Vikings' lead down to 50-49.
- Taylor came through in the clutch with 6:51 on the clock, giving LaGrange a 52-50 lead on three-consecutive made free throws.
- Taylor tallied a layup on an offensive rebound with 6:16 left, and then junior forward Charley Amissah-Reyes nailed a mid-range jumper with 5:50 left. The two shots concluded a 9-0 run and gave the Panthers a 56-50 lead.
- Montour recorded a steal and layup, extending LaGrange's cushion to 58-52 with 3:51 on the clock. Two made free throws by McEachin gave LaGrange a 60-55 lead with 3:21 showing.
- A 3-pointer by Parsons put Berry in front, 65-64, with 1:12 left. Montour knotted the game on a free throw with 59 seconds left, setting the stage for McEachin's game-winner.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Panthers Head Coach Lee Buchanan: "It was a close game throughout and we kept battling to the end. Sometimes, players have to make plays and Jahpera hit a big shot with four seconds to help get the win. Nadia had the best game of her career. She was terrific on both ends of the court. Mykelli had maybe her best game in a Panthers' uniform as well. She played confidently, shot it well, and did a great job on the offensive glass. It was a quality win and we had several other players contribute in many ways."
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- The Panthers shot 72.7 percent from the foul line, going 16-for-22, while winning the rebounding battle, 39-35.
- The Panthers' bench outscored the Vikings, 30-5. LaGrange won the points-in-the-paint category, 26-20, while leading second-chance points, 16-14.
- LaGrange had 13 turnovers, while forcing the Vikings into 21. Each team finished with 13 assists.
- Neither team had a lead larger than six, with the game featuring 10 lead changes and six ties.
- Cousins finished with eight points, while Amissah-Reyes tallied six points and four boards.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- LaGrange and Berry have met 15 times in the history of the programs, as the Vikings lead the all-time series, 8-7.
- The two teams split the season series in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Last season, the Panthers won 51-42 on Nov. 24, and then the Vikings avenged the loss with a 66-63 win on Dec. 14.
- The Panthers will look to even the all-time series with Berry on Nov. 26 with a 5:30 p.m. meeting at Mariotti Gym.
- The Panthers' home opener will take place on Monday, Nov. 18, against Judson at 5:30 p.m.