Lebanon’s girls were in position to shoot for a win over Shelbyville on Tuesday night.
But a turnover with five seconds left set up Jameka Braden’s driving layup at the buzzer to give the visiting Eaglettes a 45-43 victory at Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.
“We had gotten some second chances at life,” said Lebanon coach Courtney McFarland, whose Devilettes trailed most of the night before briefly ahead in the fourth quarter. “We just couldn’t convert. We made some silly decisions and that’s a learning opportunity for these kids, some of whom have played a lot of minutes and some who haven’t.
“I told the kids, they’re going to No. 4 [Braden]. The whole gym knew who they were going to and they did and she made a good shot. It’s why you go to your senior and she’s the only senior on their team.”
Braden finished with 17 points while Tonesha Allison added 10 as the Eaglettes left town with a 6-5 record.
Neither team shot the ball well in the first half, hitting at 30 percent or lower. But 11 Lebanon turnovers helped put the Devilettes in a 20-14 halftime hole.
But guard Jameka Dowell dropped in half of her 14 points in the third quarter and veteran Madison Sloan six of her 14 in the fourth. A corner three-pointer by Morgan Bruce put Lebanon ahead for the first time since 12-10 at 40-38 with 3:14 left. A putback by Sloan gave the Devilettes a 43-41 edge before Romney Felts’ foul-line jumper pulled Shelbyville into a 43-43 tie.
“We did a better job of boxing out in the fourth quarter,” McFarland said. “We got in a lull in the first half where we were too complacent in what we were doing. We weren’t very aggressive. We were trying to rush.
“Jameka had a great game for us offensively, she gave us a spark.”
Bruce and Kelsey Yarbrough each scored six points, Bailey Sells two and Kristen Dedman a free throw as the Devilettes dropped to 3-6.
Lebanon will return to action the day after Christmas at the Lenoir City Christmas Tournament. The Devilettes will open noon CST against McMinn Central. They will face either Bledsoe County or Heritage on Dec. 27 with Coalfield, Oak Ridge, Covington or Lenoir City waiting in the wings for the 28th.