WESTPHALIA — The South Callaway Lady Bulldogs managed to persevere in a state-ranked, defensive-minded showdown with the Fatima Lady Comets.
Senior guard Paige Clubb connected on two free throws with 26 seconds to play, lifting South Callaway to a dramatic 38-37 Show-Me Conference win over Fatima on Thursday night.
The victory was the 13th in a row for the Lady Bulldogs (16-1, 5-0 SMC), who moved up four spots to No. 6 in the latest Class 3 poll released by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association this week. The Lady Comets (16-4, 3-1) — ranked seventh in Class 4 — had their seven-game winning streak halted.
"I told the girls that composure was the word of the night," South Callaway head coach Daniel Burns said. "Fatima is a hard place to play, so we knew it was going to be a grind. The girls figured out a way to win.
"(Fatima) Coach (Matt) Baker is amazing — they give us fits every single year. They have us scouted and we have them scouted. I have nothing but respect for how he does things at Fatima."
Thursday night's clash was tied at 11-all after one quarter and was even at 15-all at halftime. The Lady Comets then took a slight 31-28 edge after outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 16-13 in the third quarter.
South Callaway was able to prevail by outscoring Fatima 10-6 in the fourth quarter. After Clubb put the Lady Bulldogs on top with her free throws, the Lady Comets missed a shot with about :04 left to seal South Callaway's triumph.
"We mixed things up defensively (in the fourth quarter) and we pressured them full court to try to get them to make mistakes," Burns said. "We had to get stops."
Junior guard Hailee Potter provided most of the offense for the Lady Bulldogs, delivering a game-high 23 points and knocking down four of her five 3-pointers in the second half. Clubb was next with nine points.
Morgan Luebbering topped Fatima with 13 points and Alli Robertson had 11.
Meanwhile, South Callaway will get another strict test when the Lady Bulldogs match up with Miller — ranked third in Class 3 — at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Hall of Fame Classic at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar.
"We need to play the best competition we can at this time of the year," Burns said.