It’s fair to say that Albemarle’s girls basketball had little experience to lean on once they went to overtime with Patrick-Henry Ashland in the Conference 16 final Friday night.
Actually, little isn’t absolute enough. The Patriots had no experience to lean on. But, apparently, they’re naturals.
Albemarle needed three extra periods to do it, but the Patriots eventually eeked out an 82-76 victory in triple overtime to take home the Conference 16 title.
“That’s the first time as a program, with these girls and this coaching staff, that we’ve been in overtime,” said Albemarle coach Rachel Proudfoot. “We showed so much poise and confidence. We never let down on the press, we switched defenses like we normally do and we were pretty smart with the ball. It’s a huge, huge win.”
The victory gives Albemarle a home game to open up the region 5A North tournament, but they had to scrap and claw to get there.
Down by one point with time running out, Albemarle freshman Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper drew a foul and missed her first free throw. Tyler-Cooper settled down and hit the second to tie the game and sent it to over time at 63-63.
KK Barbour ignited the Patriots with perhaps the most productive performance of her career. The junior exploded for 35 points, 21 rebounds and five steals. She also knocked down one of her 3-pointers with around six seconds left in the first overtime to tie the game up at 66-66, the lone points by the Patriots in that frame. The Patriots ran a staggered screen for Barbour and hit the shots.
“We knew that ball was going to have to be in her hands,” Proudfoot said. “They weren’t picking her up – she had four 3-pointers tonight. She’s just taken this team and put it on her shoulders. She’s finally turned that corner and is reaching into all that potential that we all knew that she could.”
In the third overtime, Albemarle started pulling away and pulled off the 6-point win with solid free throw shooting down the stretch.
Barbour was one of three Albemarle players to post double doubles, with Samira Hussaini scoring 15 points and knocking down 11 rebounds while Alexus Anderson chipped in 14 points and hauled in 10 rebounds
The Patriots needed that entire aresenal as Campbell signee Summer Price put up a huge triple double for Patrick Henry with 32 points, 16 rebounds and 10 steals in a Herculean effort.
Albemarle’s Kendra Hairston finished with just seven points but played a big role for the Patriots on defense as she helped the Patriots slow down everyone but Price.
“Kendra was unstoppable on the defensive end,” Proudfoot said. “Rotating, trapping, loose ball tie-ups—it was just insane.”