By Doug Gorman
For a time, it looked like the ELCA Lady Chargers were going to waltz out of rival Strong Rock Christian's gym with an easy Region 9-A victory.
Then again somebody forgot to tell the Lady Patriots.
Trailing 26-12 early in the fourth quarter, Strong Rock went on a 20-4 run in the final eight minutes to defeat the Lady Chargers 32-30.
So far it's been a successful year for Strong Rock, who is competing in its first season in the GHSA.
With the win, the Lady Patriots improved to 9-6 overall. ELCA lost its fifth game in a row and dropped to 1-6.
"We are a young basketball team, so you will take a win any way you can get it," Strong Rock coach A.C. McCullers said. "We are getting better everytime out."
ELCA scored its last points of the game when it open the final period on back-to-back baskets from Jordan Fielding and Symone Ball to go up 26-12.
It was the last time they scored.
The Lady Patriots started their comeback with 6:50 remaining in the game when Jaclyn Stuart drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 26-15. He trey was all the spark Strong Rock needed.
Strong Rock did all the scoring the rest of the way, adding the last 17 points of the contest.
The biggest difference came when the Lady Patriots started getting the ball inside to Ansley Hughes. Hughes connected on four baskets during the spurt and also added two clutch free throws to finish with 10 points in the fourth quarter. She had 12 for the game.
"We finally started getting the ball into Hughes in the fourth quarter and it paid off.," said Strong Rock coach A.C. McCullers.
Eagle's Landing Christian took control of the game in the first quarter building an 11-6 lead. The Lady Chargers Melisa Liston connected on two 3-point shots in period,
She added a third trey in the first half as ELCA led 16-10 at the break.
ELCA increased the lead to 10 at the end of the third quarter when it went up 22-12 with two late baskets by Ball.
Ball finished the game with 13 points. Stuart added 10 for Strong Rock
ELCA boys extend streak: The Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Chargers won the Oneonta Holiday Classic during Christmas and are hoping to parlay that into something special.
So far, they are headed in the right direction. ELCA has won twice since getting back home, including Friday night in a 60-30 win against rival Strong Rock.
The Chargers extended the winning streak to seven in a row.
ELCA improved its record to 10-2. Strong Rock dropped to 3-10.
The Chargers have switched from a half-court game to a up-tempo offense under first year head coach Jay Covington and so far the Chargers are doing a good job adjusting.
"We played really well at times," Covington said. "We are still trying to work on that press. We are working on that uptempo style and trying to get them to remember when we get the rebound we have to out let and go."
ELCA built a 5-0 lead minutes into the game and the Chargers never traied in the game.
Nick Jernigan's 3-pointer trimmed the Chargers lead to 11-5 but that was as close as they could get.
ELCA's Scott Barlow's then answered with a 3-point shot during the first period gave to grab back the momentum.
ELCA led 16-7 at the end of the first quarter. They extended the margin to 25-11 at the break.
Issac Rochell was the cataylist for the Chargers in the second quarter, scoring six points in a row as he dominated the inside.
ELCA pushed the lead to 32-16 heading into the final quarter.
Rochell led with 11 and Alex Williams 1o. Strong Rock was paced by Cameron Duty with 10.