HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State sophomore guard Haven Albright could hardly recall the last time she made a game-winning shot.
Albright will definitely remember the clutch 3-pointer she delivered on Friday for the Lady Lions. Her trey with 0.5 seconds remaining lifted Wallace State to a thrilling 65-64 victory over conference foe Lawson State at Tom Drake Coliseum.
“About the only other time I’ve hit a game-winner was in AAU ball. That’s got to be about it. I was off the mark all day, but I was excited to shoot it. It felt good to me when I released it. It was an awesome feeling to make it,” said Albright, a Lexington High grad.
Wallace State’s men completed the Friday sweep with a come-from-behind 66-64 overtime victory over the Cougars.
In the opener, the Wallace State Lady Lions (19-3, 2-2 Alabama Community College Conference) led 34-24 at the half and by as many as 18 points early in the second half after Morgan Smith converted a rare 4-point play with 14:59 to play, giving Wallace State a 46-28 cushion.
Lawson State gradually chipped away and used a 29-11 run to tie things up at 57-all with 3:51 remaining, capping the run with a 3-pointer from guard Destiny McClary.
Wallace State’s Morgan Smith broke a 59-all tie with a long 3-pointer with 1:25 left, handing the Lady Lions a 62-59 edge.
Lawson State’s Kara Rawls sparked the Lady Cougars over the next minute, using a pair of free throws and 3-point play to reclaim a 64-62 advantage for her team with 21.8 seconds left.
Wallace State committed an unforced turnover on its next possession and was forced to foul Lawson State’s Ashley McCrear with seven seconds remaining. She missed the front end of a one-and-one and Smith rebounded for Wallace State.
Smith dribbled up the left sideline, threw it across the court to Albright and the sophomore drained a 3-pointer for the game-winning bucket.
Lawson State’s long heave with 0.5 seconds left was unsuccessful, sealing a second consecutive ACCC victory for Wallace State.
“Morgan Smith made a great decision to throw it across court to Haven and not try to force anything herself. Haven had her feet set, so I was very comfortable she was going to make it. We shot really well in this game. We shot it better than we have been,” said Wallace State women’s coach Ron Burdette. “It would have been devastating to lose this one. It honestly would have put our season on the brink. Now, we are right in the thick of things and feel good heading on the road.”
Wallace State had four players finish with double figures. Smith finished with 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers. She also added five rebounds, five steals and five assists.
Morgan Hardy finished with her second double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and grabbing 14 boards. BreAnna Thompson scored 10 points and collected 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season and Albright added 10 points.
McClary led Lawson State (17-6, 3-2 ACCC) in the loss with 24 points.
Wallace State scooted out to leads of 10-1 and 15-6 to start the game. The Lady Lions led by as many as 17 points in the first half after Thompson hit a free throw with 2:34 remaining.
Wallace State men 66, Lawson State 64
Not to be outdone by the Wallace State women, Immanuel King’s tip-in with 1:20 left in overtime proved to be the game-winner for the Wallace State men in the finale, capping one of the more impressive wins for the Lions this season.
Wallace State trailed 26-9 with 8:16 left in the first half and 38-24 with 17:50 left in regulation.
The Lions (12-11, 3-2 ACCC) responded with a 26-12 run and tied things up at 50-all on Richard Smith’s layup with 4:25 remaining in regulation.
There were four ties and four lead changes over the final 4:25 of regulation, sending the game to overtime tied at 58-all.
Wallace State’s Kriston Beasley forced overtime by hitting a pair of free throws with 11.8 remaining.
Lawson State gained control early in overtime and led 64-61 with 2:16 to go.
Wallace State held Lawson State scoreless the rest of the way and mustered enough offense to earn the conference victory.
A pair of free throws by Wallace State’s Smith cut the Lions’ deficit to 64-63 with 1:59 left. On Wallace State’s following possession, King tipped in a miss by Beasley to hand the Lions a slim 65-64 lead. Beasley added a free throw for the Lions with 7.3 seconds remaining.
A difficult 3-point attempt by Lawson State’s Chris Taylor was too strong as time expired.
“This was one of the first times this season where we’ve been in a major, major hole and had enough heart to want to win and dig out of it. Sometimes I think we have checked out and moved on to the next game. Emotionally, we didn’t check out. We started chipping away and guarded big time down the stretch,” said Wallace State men’s coach John Meeks. “I can’t be more proud of our team for stepping up, battling and understanding how important defense is in order to win.”
Wallace State redshirt freshman guard Jacob Barrett poured in a career-high 22 points to help the Lions stay in the thick of defending their ACCC regular-season championship from last season.
“We’ve really challenged Jacob to step up defensively. That’s been a big part of him not earning as many minutes as he wants, but he has started to embrace the defensive side of things,” Meeks said. “I’m glad he’s contributed on both sides of the ball.”
Beasley scored 10 of his 15 points after halftime for Wallace State, Smith added 13 points and Bennett Wilson finished with five.
DeShon Bayless scored 17 points for Lawson State.
Both Wallace State teams travel to Snead State on Monday night. The next home game is Thursday vs. Gadsden State, beginning with the women’s game at 5:30 p.m.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu