Fire alarms halted the girls varsity basketball game at Enloe High for nearly a half hour Friday, sending teams and spectators out of the building with just more than a minute remaining in the third quarter before the game resumed and Sanderson surged to a 63-52 win.
“It was a little crazy. First we were shuffled downstairs, then outside, then on the bus, but when we came back in it was just that we had such great momentum going that it was just reminding them that we’re coming right back at it,” first-year Sanderson coach Michele Conti said. “I was extremely proud of the way they came back and didn’t let that affect them and they still came back and fought.”
Sanderson (5-9, 3-2 Cap Eight) had seen a 10-point lead dwindle to four points just before the alarm sounded and then a tie game heading into the fourth quarter, but that’s when Spartans senior Bria Gibson came alive. Gibson, who finished with a double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds, scored 11 of Sanderson’s 19 fourth-quarter points, making moves in the paint and even stepping back to hit a soft jumper from the free throw line as the Spartans pulled away down the stretch.
“We’ve been working hard this season of her having an understanding of when she needs to put the team on her back and carry them and when she maybe needs to kick the ball to somebody else, so I’m extremely proud of the decisions she’s made. ... She was definitely the leader on the floor for this team,” Conti said.
Spartans sophomore Deandra White was also a big impact player in the game. Though the guard was credited with just four steals, she helped force several more, giving Enloe’s guards trouble with her quick hands and feet in both full-court and half-court defenses. White finished with nine points.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for a Sanderson team with six underclassmen on its 10-player roster, including two sophomores and a freshman who started the game Friday.
“We’re a young team, so we’ve had to put in a lot of work this year and it’s paying off, and they need to see that,” Conti said. “That’s great for them to realize all the hard work and fundamentals and technical skills we’re doing, it’s starting to pay off.”
Enloe (5-10, 1-4) stayed in the game and led early on despite turning the ball over 11 times in the first quarter. The Eagles staged a 10-0 run to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter, before losing control of the game in the final period.
“I told them (to) remember this feeling,” first-year Enloe coach Nikita Warren said. “This is our transition period. My freshmen who I have on the team, I have four years with them. We can beat Sanderson, but we also beat ourselves because we went 18 of 35 from the free throw line. ... They’re hungry. They want more, but we get better every game and that’s what matters to me worse. There’s always improvement.”
Brianna Lee led the Eagles with 19 points, and Taylor Piggott added 13.
The boys varsity game, which didn’t begin until after 9 p.m. Friday, ended in a 70-51 Sanderson win.
The Spartans (5-10, 2-3) took control from the tip, starting the game with a 13-4 run while limiting Enloe to just four shot attempts while Sanderson hit six of its first eight shots.
Taj Thompson led all scorers with 18 points, while Antonio Freeman added 10. Camron Lewis led Enloe (4-10, 1-4) with 17 points.