Bowling Green sweeps district doubleheader at South Warren
Saniyah Shelton and Meadow Tisdale may both be youngsters, but they sure know how to make the big plays when they’re needed the most.
With Bowling Green and South Warren – two of District 14’s top girls’ teams – playing an electrifying, back-and-forth game in their first meeting of the season on Tuesday, Shelton and Tisdale – both eighth graders – made big play after big play down the stretch and helped lift Bowling Green to a 53-46, double overtime win at South Warren High School.
“It’s amazing. I’m blessed to have that kind of experience,” Tisdale said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
While Shelton registered a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, Tisdale recorded two game-saving blocks – one in each overtime – to keep South Warren’s Natalie Pierce from scoring and giving the Spartans the win. Instead, thanks to her blocks and Shelton’s big shots, the Lady Purples were able to come out on top.
Bowling Green (12-4 overall, 3-0 District 14) – which won its fifth straight game – held a slim 11-9 lead after the opening quarter but trailed 24-23 at halftime. The Lady Purples led 34-33 after three, but a back-and-forth fourth quarter ended with the scoreboard knotted at 44-all and sent the contest into overtime.
As each side only scored two points in the extra period, they then went into a second overtime tied at 46-all. By scoring seven points and holding South Warren scoreless in the frame, Bowling Green built a seven-point advantage and was able to hold on for the victory.
“We’ve got a lot of fight,” Bowling Green head coach Calvin Head said. “We talk about embracing the grind – and that’s what they did. We keep telling them that it’s gonna be tough because we’re getting everybody’s best right now, and rightfully so. District 14 is always, always, always a battle. The fight in them and the no-quit is what I really love about this group.”
Along with Shelton’s numbers, T’Alla Brown led the Lady Purples with 17 points, while Taylor Ragland finished with nine.
Natalie Pierce led the Spartans (7-8, 2-1) with a game-high 25 points.
The two sides played a competitive, back-and-forth opening half.
Bowling Green started hot and jumped out to a 6-2 lead at the 4:16 mark of the first quarter, but South Warren rallied back to only trail 11-9 after eight minutes of action – and it continued to give the Lady Purples all they could handle in the ensuing period.
A 3-pointer from Ragland put Bowling Green up 16-10 at the 5:34 mark of the second, and one from Keyozdon Jones made it 19-12 exactly one minute later. Trailing by seven, South Warren – led by Pierce – used a momentum-swinging 12-2 run to take a 24-21 lead with just under a minute remaining in the half.
“I thought the girls fought and battled,” South Warren head coach Lane Embry said. “I thought we had a lot of chances. We had a lot of shots that we just missed. We had a lot of situations that we wanted, but we’ve just gotta figure out how to get better shots out of those. I keep telling the girls that I think we’re right on the edge of getting over the top on some of these wins.”
Ragland scored on a layup at the 28.2-second mark to cut the Spartans’ advantage to one at the break.
Pierce was leading all scorers with 12 points after two quarters of action, while Ragland had scored seven.
Things remained close throughout the second half.
Bowling Green and South Warren exchanged baskets over the course of the first five minutes of the third quarter until Shelton’s three evened the scoreboard at 31-all at the 2:28 mark. A free throw from Shelton gave the Lady Purples a 32-31 lead, and they ultimately led 34-33 entering the fourth.
Back-to-back Pierce triples to open the final quarter put South Warren up 39-34, but Bowling Green answered with four straight points to get within 39-38 with 5:02 left. Tisdale’s strong layup off an offensive rebound later put the Lady Purples back in front at 42-41 with 2:06 remaining.
“We had two eighth graders on the floor down the stretch, so for them to step up when the lights are bright is amazing to watch,” Head said. “We look forward to watching them grow even more. They’re key pieces to how far we can go down the stretch.”
Another big shot from Pierce – this one a deep, contested 3 – made it 44-42 in South Warren’s favor. Tisdale fired back with another tough score on the opposite end to knot it at 44-all, and the Spartans’ last look at a game-winner missed and the contest moved into the extra frame.
With the game tied 46-all with 30.6 seconds to go, South Warren had another chance at a game-winner, but Pierce’s shot right under the goal was blocked by Tisdale and the game was sent into the second overtime period.
“I used my length and ability to play defense, and I just blocked shots,” Tisdale said. “It made me want to push hard because I knew that we were in a situation that I had to do something to step up. I knew that we were in the game and something had to happen.”
Back-to-back baskets from Brown to open the second extra period gave Bowling Green a 50-46 lead. The Lady Purples held that same advantage for over a minute – that’s when Tisdale scored off an inbounds pass to put the Lady Purples up six and seal it.
Both teams will return to action Friday as Bowling Green travels to Warren Central and South Warren hits the road to Muhlenberg County.
“I think it’s amazing that we won because we’re 3-0 in the district right now,” said Tisdale. “It’s just giving us hope.”
Bowling Green – 11 12 11 10 2 7 – 53
South Warren – 9 15 9 11 2 0 – 46
Bowling Green 85, South Warren 50 (boys)
When Isaiah Mason is hot, so is Bowling Green.
Having now scored 55 points in the last three games – his most recent outing a 20-point performance Tuesday in an 85-50 win at South Warren, the sharpshooting sophomore guard has helped the Purples stretch their winning streak to seven games and remain undefeated in District 14 play.
“We’re just playing as a team right now,” Mason said. “We’re just driving the ball, focusing on defense and not so much on offense. We’re just playing together and working right now.”
Bowling Green (13-2 overall, 3-0 District 14) built a 39-24 halftime lead and later outscored South Warren 26-10 in the third quarter to take total control. The Purples triggered the KHSAA state-mandated running clock in the fourth and cruised to a dominant victory.
Bowling Green started hot and jumped out to a 10-1 lead at the 4:26 mark of the first quarter, and it ultimately held a nine-point advantage of 16-7 after one.
A 6-0 run – all from Tyler Martin – helped South Warren cut the Purples’ lead to 21-16 at the 5:06 mark of the second, but Mason answered with a 3-pointer on the next possession to put Bowling Green up 24-16.
The Purples continued to execute throughout the quarter as they used another big run – this one an 8-0 – to build a 32-19 advantage with 2:58 remaining in the half. Trevor Dennis’ triple made it 37-20 at the one-minute mark before Bowling Green soon took a 39-24 lead into the locker room at the break.
“I think anytime you can come into South Warren or any of the other places and get you a district win is big,” Bowling Green head coach Derrick Club said. “This is as challenging of a district that you have in the state. Every time you turn around in the month of January you’re playing a good team. I was really proud of the guys. I thought they played with great energy.”
The Purples took control in the ensuing half, putting together a momentum-swinging 9-0 run – highlighted by back-to-back baskets from Mason – to go up 50-26 at the 5:06 mark of the third. A deep three from Mason soon after made it 53-28 and moved him up to 18 points on the night.
Taking a comfortable 65-34 lead into the fourth, Bowling Green was able to cruise throughout the final eight minutes and record a district road victory.
South Warren returns to action Thursday at home against Cumberland County, while Bowling Green will travel to archrival Warren Central on Friday.
“I think we stand really good right now,” Mason said. “We’re just focusing on us right now and taking it day-by-day.
Bowling Green – 16 23 26 20 – 85
South Warren – 7 17 10 16 – 50