POPLARVILLE, Miss. (MGCCC Athletics) - When the chips were down Tuesday night in Poplarville, Gulf Coast got a big defensive play, a big 3-pointer and two clutch free throws to beat archrival, Pearl River, 56-55.
Mia Goolsby (So., Legacy Early College/Greenville S.C.) made the free throws with 6.1 seconds left to make the Bulldogs 12-1 overall and 4-1 in the MACJC South.
“She’s a great point guard, but she was just off from the 3-point line tonight,” Gulf Coast coach Hope Adams said. “We need her to win ballgames, and when we needed her most tonight she stepped up and hit her free throws.”
Daphane White (So., St. Martin/Gulfport) had 16 points and was the only Bulldog in double-digits. Gulf Coast used its size advantage in the paint to good effect at different points of the game.
“When we could get it to Daph, she was pretty dominant,” Adams said. “We just kind of went away from our game, then go back to it, then get away from it.”
Gulf Coast trailed 54-51 with two minutes left, and Pearl River (9-5, 2-3) had an opportunity in transition. Kelsi Jackson (Fr., South Jones/Moselle) stepped in to draw a charge with 65 seconds left.
Adams subbed in Ataliya Brown (Fr., Choctawhatchee/Crestview, Fla), and she promptly made a 3-pointer from the right corner to tie it with 48.7 seconds to play.
Pearl River had two free throws with 19.0 seconds left, but only made the first for a 55-54 lead. Gulf Coast called timeout to advance the ball into the frontcourt, and Goolsby wound up driving baseline and drawing a blocking charge.
After she calmly made both free throws, Pearl River never managed to get a shot off and the Bulldogs left Poplarville with the W.
“We played well in spurts,” Adams said. “We got a little antsy. They pressed us with that 1-2-2 to speed you up, and we got caught up in that. Once we slowed it down and got the ball where we wanted, we played well.”