By Kevin Wilson: PNT staff writer
DORA — In her first experience as a basketball coach, San Jon’s Kristi Cargile learned the game, like many other sports, can be one of inches.
Danielle Lee led the visiting Lady Coyotes with 19 points, and San Jon held off a dominant performance from Dora senior Rana Terry for a 49-48 victory Friday at Guy Luscombe Gymnasium Dora in the opener for both teams.
San Jon jumped out to a 17-6 first-quarter lead, but needed a mistake on a free throw to avoid overtime against Dora, which outscored San Jon 28-18 in the second half.
Terry kept Dora within striking distance of San Jon by scoring 16 of her game-high 30 in the first half.
“I felt like we wouldn’t have had to fight against that comeback if we didn’t get into foul trouble,” a relieved Cargile said. “Our big post got a few fouls and she had to play really conservatively.”
With Terry getting the positioning she wanted most of the second half, the host Lady Coyotes cut the deficit to four points by the end of the third quarter.
With the teams trading baskets for much of the fourth, San Jon appeared to ice the game when Lee scored on a layup with 48 seconds left to give her team a 49-43 lead. But Terry responded with consecutive baskets and a San Jon turnover on the inbounds gave Dora a last chance with four seconds left and a 49-47 deficit.
Kendra Merrick got the ensuing inbounds play and was fouled on a desperation shot. Merrick hit both free throws, but one was waived off because of a lane violation — Merrick’s foot was on the line.
“We were in a position to win the game,” Dora coach Myra Skinner said. “When you get to that point, that’s really all you can ask for.
“Kendra made her free throws, but she just stepped over the line.”
San Jon was able to get a clean inbounds and run out the final seconds to give Cargile a perfect coaching record.
For Dora, meanwhile, the emphasis will likely be starting strong and not creating a huge deficit so early. Dora’s next contest is Nov. 28 at Clovis Christian.
“(Terry) missed a few at the beginning and we missed a lot of easy shots,” Skinner said. “We got a little bit frustrated. As things went on, we relaxed a little bit.”
“Every time we get in a situation like this, we’re better for it.”