Coosa Valley Academy girls come up short in OT

Coosa Valley Academy's Kaylan Rich works a pass in a Jan. 23 matchup with Autauga Academy. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Coosa Valley Academy’s Kaylan Rich works a pass in a Jan. 23 matchup with Autauga Academy. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

HARPERSVILLE — The Coosa Valley Academy girls basketball team came painfully close to an upset of No. 9 Autauga Academy on Jan. 23. Unfortunately for the Rebels, despite a valiant effort by the home team, the Generals were able to squeak by with a 58-52 overtime win.

Autauga Academy opened with a 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Rebels kept the Generals honest. Each time Autauga Academy started to pull away, the Rebels inched back into the game.

Down 17-14 early in the second, the Rebels tied the game at 17-17 on a basket and foul shot by Danielle Richardson. A 6-2 run by the Generals ensued, and Autauga seemed to have control of the momentum.

Just as it appeared the Generals would take over the game, Richardson and Kaylan Rich added baskets to keep the halftime lead to five points, 30-25.

The Generals jumped out a nine-point lead at the start of the second half at 35-26, but the Rebels responded a 6-2 run, courtesy of Richardson. With Autauga Academy up 39-35, a swishing 3-pointer from the top of the key from Payton Stephens pulled Coosa Valley within a point at 39-38.

The two squads battled to a 3-3 draw the rest of the quarter, ending the third quarter at 42-41 in favor of the Generals.

The action heated up in the fourth quarter, Shelby Hurt swiped an Autauga pass and turned it around for a Danielle Richardson bucket to put the Rebels up 43-41. The squads traded baskets back and forth, with the Generals gaining the upper hand late in the going, 51-49.

A free throw by Autauga Academy with 32 seconds left appeared to seal the game for the Generals. As time ticked away, the Rebels turned to Stephens. With just four seconds left in regulation, Stephens swished another three from the top of the key to send the game into overtime.

Despite the miracle shot, the Rebels were unable to score in over time, falling 58-52.

Head coach Kimbo Rutledge said he was proud of his team’s effort.

“They played hard,” he said. “That’s a good team. I think it would’ve been different if Kaylan hadn’t fouled out.”

Richardson led the Rebels with 29 points, five steals and four assists, while Rich had 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.