BRENHAM, Texas -- With four seconds remaining in the game, Shakera Barnes hit the free throw of the season for the Blinn women’s basketball team.
The high-arching shot swished the net and Buccaneer basketball coach Jeff Jenkins let loose a hard clap, knowing with that shot his team pulled a victory against the eighth-ranked Tyler Lady Apaches.
In an up-and-down second half, the Buccaneers held on long enough to pull out a 106-102 upset Wednesday night at the Blinn P.E. Building.
“It feels really good to get this win,” sophomore Katrina Hayden said. “A lot of people have doubts in us and didn’t think we were going to be able to beat Tyler. I feel like that’s helping us improve and is giving us more confidence.”
Barnes’ shot was possible after sophomore Fatima Adams, a Bryan Rudder product, carried the Bucs late in the second half to stave off a Tyler surge. Of Adams’ game-high 30 points, 21 came in the second half.
“Coach said get the ball and score, and that’s what I do,” Adams said, who’s averaging 22 points per game. “It was good to beat them on our home court.”
It’s the kind of performance Jenkins likes to see out of his star sophomore.
“She refused to lose tonight,” he said. “She wanted the ball in her hand and wanted to take over offensively. I can’t think of a better offensive performance from one of my players in my 15 years.”
Hayden made an impact of her own.
With Tyler (15-2, 4-1) on a late run and the Blinn defense struggling to get a stop, Adams collapsed the Tyler defense and swung a pass out Hayden on wing. Hayden nailed the open 3-pointer to give Blinn a 101-94 lead with 1:01 to play.
“That three was clutch,” Adams said. “We all joke that Katrina’s not a shooter, but she proved us wrong tonight.”
Hayden nearly didn’t take the shot.
“At first I thought about driving, but I told myself to just shoot,” she said. “As soon as I let it go, I knew I hit it.”
It gave Blinn the momentum it needed in the final minutes of the game.
Tyler responded with a three of its own 15 seconds later, but Brianna Luton dropped a pair of free throws. Following another Tyler three, Barnes nailed her two free throws that made it a two-possession game with four seconds remaining to ice the game.
It was an all offensive-performance by the Bucs. In the first half, Tayler Weiks hit three first-half 3-pointers, two back-to-back, to help Blinn build a 54-42 halftime lead.
Weiks finished with 13 points, in addition to Hayden’s 18 points and Tierra Tucker’s 15.
Jenkins regards the Lady Apaches as good as the No. 1-ranked Trinity Valley, a team that beat the Bucs 105-70 on Jan. 8. Unlike the Trinity Valley game, Blinn found the offense to keep up with Tyler.
“That’s the best win we’ve had in a long time,” Jenkins said, whose team moves to 14-3 overall and 4-1 in Region XIV play.
“We really proved ourselves today,” Hayden said.
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