By TODD LAMBERTh
Hendersonville picked up a sweep of district 9-AAA foe Portland on Tuesday night in two games that were decided by just 10 points combined.
It was a back-and-forth affair between the Lady Commandos and the Lady Panthers, but Hendersonville was able to squeeze out a 55-54 win in overtime.
After Portland (10-14, 1-10) took a 10-7 lead in the first quarter, the second frame saw two ties and three lead changes, but the Lady Commandos were able to take a 20-18 lead into the half.
The Lady Panthers would quickly tie things back up to start the second half, but Hendersonville answered with an 8-0 run to take control. Portland would keep things close to limit the Lady Commando lead to four going into the final frame.
Hendersonville (14-10, 5-6) took a commanding nine-point lead with just over four minutes left on a Hartley Hines three. The Lady Panthers didn’t go away, however, going on their own 10-2 run, ending with a Rachel Jennings three-pointer to get things within one with just over a minute remaining.
With the Lady Commandos holding onto a 43-41 lead, Jennings drove the lane and got fouled. The senior would knock down both of her free throws to force overtime.
The two sides continued to swap lead throughout overtime, but a DeMaira Bell free throw put the Lady Panthers up by two with four seconds left. Portland looked poised to come out with a win, but just seven-tenths of a second left on the clock Hendersonville’s Janaeya Mayes was able to get a shot off and get a foul call. Mayes would knock down her free throw with no time remaining to steal the 55-54 win.
Hendersonville senior Chelsey Burton led the Lady Commandos with 24 points, including 14 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Hines followed Burton with 11 points, going three of five from three.
Jennings led all scorers in the game with 16 points, with 17 of those coming down the stretch in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Portland (54): Rachel Jennings (26), DeMaira Bell (8), Haley Dickens (7), Sami Parker (7), Emily Brown (4), Taylor Cole (2)
Hendersonville (55): Chelsey Burton (24), Harley Hines (11), Emma Thornberry (7), Janaeya Mayes (6), Laney Perry (5), Jordan Phillips (2)
The second game of the night saw another close matchup, but the Commandos were able to pull away toward the end for a 54-45 win.
Portland (8-16, 0-11) took an early 9-4 lead on the Commandos, but Hendersonville rallied back to end the opening frame on a 7-0 run to take an 11-9 lead into the second period.
The Panthers tied things at 13 early in the second frame, but Hendersonville (12-8, 7-4) went on another run to take a 22-13 lead. The Commandos would go on to take a 27-20 lead into the half.
The lead would grow to as many as eleven and the Commandos seemed to have control of the game. Portland didn’t go away, though, as they closed the gap to four as things stood at 47-43 with less than three minutes remaining. Hendersonville was able to retake command at that point as Portland would be assessed a foul and three technical fouls, giving the home side eight free throws. They would knock down six of those eight shots to take a ten-point lead on their way to a 54-45 win.
Junior Zach Morris led all scorers in the win with 28 points, going five of nine from behind the arc.
Senior Peyton Martin led Portland in scoring with 20 points. Sophomore Darius Bell chipped in eight points to go along with his nine rebounds.
Portland (45): Peyton Martin (20), Bryce Keith (10), Darius Bell (8), Austin Hicks (5), Mitchell Eagle (2)
Hendersonville (54): Zach Morris (28), Noah Taylor (11), Derek Kincaid (6), Cooper Smith (5), Noah Owens (4)
Both schools go on the road to continue district play on Friday night as Hendersonville travels to Mt. Juliet and Portland visits Beech.