TOP PHOTO: Former Lady Cougar Skylar Boshears walks off the floor at Goodman Gym on Saturday at Salisbury, North Carolina, after her Lady Eagles of Carson-Newman defeated Catawba.
HARTSVILLE, SC (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – Former Campbell County Lady Cougar Skylar Boshears and Braelyn Wykle combined to score 12 of the team’s final 16 points draining six of six at the foul line in the final minute to help 12th-ranked Carson-Newman overcome a 14-point deficit and win 71-66 at Coker Monday at the DeLoach Center.
“I’m excited for them,” Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. “There weren’t a lot of things going right for us today. It’s the first game playing without Lindsey [Taylor] and we struggled on how to navigate that from an inside-out approach. It was going to be a physical, tough-nose game. We came out in the third quarter and missed some bunnies. At some point we felt like it wasn’t going to be our day with the layups we were missing. The kids hung in there and we have been in this situation a lot this year and even last year. We made some big shots down the stretch to pull out a hard fought victory on the road.”
Carson-Newman (13-1, 13-1) has won six straight games while defeating Coker (6-10, 6-9) for the 11th consecutive meeting dating back five seasons albeit the first by single digits.
Wykle netted the first double-double of her career finishing with 25 points and a career-high 10 rebounds going a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. It was the seventh straight game with at least 20 points for the sophomore to become the first player since at least 2002 to produce 20-point efforts in seven in a row.
“Free throws down the stretch have been super important for us because we have been in a lot of close games especially in basketball games away from home,” Wykle said. “We practice them all the time and it’s a mindset that you have to be confident and knock them down.”
Boshears tallied eight of her 14 points over the final six minutes of the game producing her eighth double-digit scoring effort of the year making all six of her free throws. The sophomore added four rebounds and four assists.
The Lady Eagles were playing without second-leading scorer Lindsey Taylor (Maryville, Tenn.) for the first time this season but scored 34 points in the paint and won the battle on the glass 54-40.
C-N shot a season-low 34 percent from the field but countered that with its best free-throw shooting day of the season going 18-for-20, 90 percent, at the line as Boshears and Wykle combined to go 15-for-15.
The Cobras started fast scoring the first four points of the game and after C-N tied the score at four, it promptly fell behind 15-8 with three minutes to play in the first frame. Madison Bunch (Morristown, Tenn.) drilled a three-pointer on the next possession to make it a four-point game but the team failed to score over the next five minutes.
Coker took advantage rattling off 10 points in a row to open up a 25-11 advantage with 7:30 to go before halftime. The Lady Eagles closed the half on a 9-2 run to pull within a 34-29 tally going into the locker room.
Monday was the first time this year that the school did not lead at the break and the first time since Feb. 19, 2020 at Tusculum that the Orange and Blue were behind after 20 minutes.
Mincey’s club missed their first seven shots of the second half before breaking the seal nearly three minutes into the second half. A three-pointer from Ahlea Myers with 3:05 to play in the frame made it a 12-point game at 48-36.
Carson-Newman blitzed the Cobras over the next six minutes scoring the final 13 of the third period to take its first lead of the game using a 15-0 sequence, the longest scoring run of the year for the team, to go ahead 51-48 on a layup by Wykle with 9:13 to go in the game.
Addison Byrd (Nashville, Tenn.) hit a mid-range jumper to give the Lady Eagles a 61-53 lead with 3:54 to play. Coker responded by scoring eight unanswered as a layup from Hope Richardson tied the score at 61 with two minutes to play.
Boshears converted on a driving layup to break the tie and give C-N the lead at 63-61. Coker pulled within a pair twice more including on a jumper from Myers with 42 ticks to play making it 65-64.
Qua Hines (Sevierville, Tenn.) hit a driving layup with 20 seconds to play drawing the foul. Despite missing the foul shot, Boshears collected the offensive glass giving it to Wykle who was fouled before burying two game-sealing free throws.
Three Cobras scored in double figures led by 18 points from Myers who added five assists. Richard tacked on a dozen going 6-for-9 from the floor and Emily Davis hit four triples ending the night with 14 points and six rebounds.
The Lady Eagles return home to the friendly confines on Wednesday night when Mars Hill comes to town to finish off the season series. Tip-off is slated for 5:30 from Holt Fieldhouse with coverage available on The Mountain 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and cneagles.com/live with “The AEC Countdown to Tip-Off.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 02/16/2021-6AM)