There was one second left in an already well-decided game Friday night, and Josey's Keyonnia Cook thought why not.
She'd already cooked up a 63-49 win on the strength of an amazing 3-point shooting display during the final 9 minutes of play.
"I'd like to think I'd had a better game than this," Cook said. "But I'd be fooling myself. It was my best because we came back like this to beat Laney."
The senior guard buried her first 3-pointer of the game with 22 seconds left in the third quarter, pulling Josey within 38-36 and sending the crowd into near pandemonium.
Cook was just getting started. She also converted all four of her 3-point efforts in the fourth quarter to finish with 21 points.
Her final one was the most impressive.
"I didn't see anyone wanting to play any defense so I just threw it up," Cook said. "The game was over. It wasn't going to hurt. I wanted to see if I could make it."
Cook was maybe two feet from half-court when she let it go.
"There was no doubt in my mind it was in when she let it go," Josey coach Lynn Brantley said. "My bench said I was crazy. I just said watch. Unbelievable. But that's the way it was going for her. She had the magic touch."
The last-second fling went it. It was just Cook's night.
"I told our girls on the bench that ought to count five points," Brantley said. "Wasn't tonight something. When Josey and Laney play basketball, it's always something like this."
Brantley could hardly contain herself after Friday's matchup at James Henry Roundtree Athletic Complex.
"I'm as happy as I have ever been," she said. "This one is special for the way everyone had counted us out down early in the season and even early in this game.
"And we're now tied for first place with Laney in the region."
This one had a lot of chapters.
There was Laney storming out to a 32-22 lead at the half. There was an invigorated Josey defense that held the Lady Wildcats to very little in the second half.
"I think we started worrying about not scoring on offense and that affected our defense," Laney coach Otis Smart said.
The Eagles continued the bottleneck on the defensive end through the decisive final period. Laney (19-2, 9-2 Region 7-AA) had just 42 points with three minutes left to play in the game after producing 32 at the half.
"This would have to be one of our best wins against Laney," Brantley said.
"I'd rank this game second in our wins against Laney. Last year we were down 16 at the half and came back to win by 12."
The setback should send the Wildcats back to the practice floor for some considerable tinkering. Laney has lost two in a row after beginning the year 19-0.
"We're not hungry right now," Smart said. "This should change things. Losing like this and losing to Josey of all teams should get us hungry to win again. It sure better."
Eboni Fields had 23 points to lead Laney. Alice Holmes also had a dynamic night for the Eagles, scoring 19 points.
Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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