Elida rallies to defeat Farwell

Dave Wagner

FARWELL — Elida struggled mightily in the first half, but coach Dan Howard knew the real Lady Tigers hadn’t shown up yet.
Down 22-14 at the intermission, Elida tied the game with the first eight points when play resumed and then survived a physical battle down the stretch to edge host Farwell 47-45 in overtime in Thursday’s last quarterfinal matchup of the Farwell Invitational.
Senior post Keisha Chenault scored 18 points and the Elida converted 6-of-8 free throws in the extra session as the Lady Tigers (2-0) advanced to a 6 p.m. (MST) semifinal matchup today against unbeaten Texico (5-0), which got past Hale Center 57-48 in its first-round tilt.
Elida committed 18 of its 33 turnovers in the opening half, including 13 in the first quarter.
“We knew it’d be rough,” Howard said. “In the first half, turnovers just killed us. In the second half, we slowed it down and we were patient with our offense.
“I knew if we could get into our offense, we could play with them.”
Senior guard Hailey Grimes scored 17 points for the Lady Blue (3-6), but had a 3-point shot in the final seconds of overtime blocked by Elida’s Kodi Armitage. Senior post Chelsea Meyer added 11 points for Farwell.
“This was a team effort,” Chenault said. “We were a little nervous (early). We came in at halftime and calmed down a little bit.
“As a group, we know we all have to play together.”
Holding Farwell scoreless for more than five minutes of the third quarter, the Lady Tigers took their first lead since early on an 18-footer by Chenault in the first minute of the fourth period.
Elida twice led by five points midway through the stanza, but the Lady Blue forced overtime at 41-41 on a short bank shot by Grimes with 33 seconds left in regulation.
Samantha Southard and Chenault hit two free throws each for Elida, but Meyer answered each time with a basket for Farwell. Then reserve Adrienne Coe and senior Halee Best each made 1-of-2 free throws in the final minute for the deciding points.
Lady Blue coach Doug Boyd, whose team meets Whiteface in a noon (MST) consolation semifinal today, bemoaned his team’s shooting woes. Farwell tried a myriad of 3-pointers, but managed to hit only three.
“Until we get to where we shoot better, we’re going to struggle,” Boyd said. “I feel like we’re a better team than they are.
“The effort is good; the girls work hard, and they never quit. But it’s just hard to keep going when the ball’s not going in the basket.”