Former Lady Cougar tallied a career high 23 points keeping the Bryan Lady Lions undefeated.
PULASKI, TN (WLAF) – For the second time this season, the 17th-ranked Bryan women’s basketball team has downed NAIA Div. I foe Martin Methodist College. Securing the sweep wouldn’t come easy though, as the Lions traveled to the RedHawks’ homecourt on Saturday and fell behind 48-31 at the break. Despite Martin Methodist’s significant lead and momentum at home, Bryan rallied behind junior guard Sarah Cain who proved an immense problem for the RedHawks. The native of Jacksboro, Tennessee and former Campbell County High School standout finished 7-of-13 from the floor, including 5-of-10 behind the arc, and went a perfect 4-for-4 at the foul line to set a new career-best in the scoring column with a game-high 23 points. It was also supported on the offensive end by the duo of Shayla Ludy and Kaitlynn Hennessee who helped Bryan pull off the thrilling come-from-behind victory with 15 and 11 points, respectively. The Lions lifted their 40.7 percent shooting through the first two quarters into a scorching 62.5 percent in the second half while capitalizing on 12-of-14 free throws in the latter periods to outscore the RedHawks 18-9 in the third and 28-12 in the fourth, prevailing 77-69.
Thanks to the extraordinary comeback effort, Bryan kept their undefeated record intact and improved to 13-0 overall while lowering Martin Methodist to 7-3.
Leading Bryan in assists was Deandra Luna who ended with 7 and added on 9 points and 6 rebounds, trailing only Hennessee’s team-best 7 rebounds. Tristan McClellan pieced together 8 points and a pair of assists, Karli Combs posted 5 points and 4 boards, and the duo of Destiny Kassner and Myah Parlier matched each other with 3 points apiece.
The Lions wasted no time in establishing a significant 10-1 lead, surrendering a lone point to the RedHawks for the first three minutes of play in the opening quarter. Martin Methodist cut the deficit to two points, 10-8, but the difference would grow as large as seven points at the three-minute mark in favor of Bryan, 19-12, before the home team capped the high-scoring frame with five unanswered points to deadlock the score 22-22.
At 9:11, the score remained close at 24-24, and McClellan provided a basket in the paint to push Bryan ahead 26-24. Unfortunately, Martin Methodist successfully countered in what most would consider a game-sealing run. For the next six minutes, the RedHawks outscored the Lions 17-0 to go on top 41-26. A three-pointer by Luna near the three-minute mark finally broke the silence for Bryan. Hennessee was also able to produce a bucket for Bryan, but it would be the only other score for the Lions, as they entered halftime down 48-31.
Just as Martin Methodist held Bryan to single-digits in the second quarter, the Lions repaid the favor in the third quarter, silencing the RedHawks to only nine points. Bryan’s first four points of their 18 collected in the quarter were a 4-0 run by Cain at the foul line and a basket underneath by Hennessee. At 7:19, Martin Methodist led 52-37, but a trey by Cain sparked a 7-0 run for Bryan that slimmed the gap to eight points, 52-44. By the end of the quarter, the eight-point margin was all that stood between the Lions and the RedHawks, 57-49. Ludy continued Bryan’s charge with the first score of the fourth, and a successful and-one completed by Parlier in the 8th-minute trimmed the deficit to just three points, 59-56. By the six-minute mark, Bryan tied the game 61-61 on another and-one play, this time by Hennessee. Finishing the 12-0 run for the Lions was Hennessee scoring down low, Cain hitting a deep three-pointer, and Ludy making a strong move and finish inside to propel Bryan in the lead 68-61. Free throws by Martin Methodist at 2:10 made it just a one-point ballgame, 68-67, but foul shots by Luna and Kassner and a clutch triple knocked down by Ludy gave Bryan all the cushion they needed to seal the comeback, as the Lions held on to win 77-69.
Bryan will try and use this momentum in Tuesday’s non-conference top-ranked showdown at home, as the Lions play host to No. 11 Indiana Tech on Dec. 17 at 3pm. The Warriors will be making the trip south for a meeting at fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference member Tennessee Wesleyan University on Monday prior to Tuesday’s clash with Bryan. Indiana Tech currently owns an overall record of 8-3.