WILMINGTON – The last of Gracey Ferguson’s game-high 13 points, a jumper with 25 seconds left, gave visiting Miami Trace a 39-38 victory at Wilmington Tuesday.
“That last possession was kind of like the whole night. Nothing really went the way we wanted it to, which is a credit to Wilmington’s defense,” MT head coach Ben Ackley said. “We just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and made a big shot at the end.”
Like Wilmington did to open and close the opening period to lead 16-6, and start the final period to go up 38-33, Trace reeled off six straight points to close the game.
Miami Trace (10-5) only led twice in the game, at the end of the third and fourth quarters.
“Give Wilmington credit. They do things a lot teams can’t do to you on the perimeter pressure-wise. They are a very, very good team at home. They play with great energy,” Ackley said. “I think fatigue played a role tonight and Wilmington’s pressure.”
The Hurricane (7-8) had two cracks to win but committed turnovers. The teams traded backcourt violations within a second of each other. Wilmington had the ball and a chance to win the game with 11.6 seconds left. Panther Shaylee McDonald pounced on an errant pass as time expired to seal the victory.
“We didn’t execute in crunch time,” WHS head coach Zach Williams said. “We don’t hit our free throws. We missed numerous shots in the first half, like bunnies. We turned it over in crucial times. We don’t execute coming out of a timeout what we want to do. All of those things combined in a close game are going to get you beat.”
Ferguson’s game-winner came the possession after Wilmington missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity.
Wilmington led by as much as 22-11 a couple minutes into the second quarter, thanks to 12 points off six steals. Half of those points and steals came from Jasmine Jamiel.
“Toward the end of the first half, they went on a run because we didn’t get matched up. We had miscommunication on the floor. They cut the lead to 25-22 at the break,” Williams said. “That’s simply not doing everything we just did for the first 10 minutes of the game. We can’t have those mental lapses. Trace capitalized on those. He coaches them well and his girls play hard.”
Jamiel led the Hurricane with 11 points.
“I thought our start was dreadful. We were definitely sluggish tonight. Our school has dealt with illness. We’ve got some kids sick, and some who just lacked energy. We looked like a team that hadn’t been in the gym in four days,” Ackley said. “But this group of kids is a strong character group and they fight, and they gave themselves a chance late. We were fortunate enough to score enough points.”
January 21, 2020
@Fred Summers Court
Miami Trace 39 Wilmington 38
(39) MIAMI TRACE (fg-ft-tp) McDonald 5-0-10, Bloom 3-0-8, Aleshire 1-0-2, Pitstick 0-0-0, Eakins 0-3-3, Payton 0-0-0, Ferguson 6-1-13, Jacobs 1-0-3. Total 16-4-39. 3-point goals: 3 (Bloom 2, Jacobs). FTM-FTA 4-5, 80 percent.
(38) WILMINGTON (fg-ft-tp) Jamiel 5-0-11, McCord 3-1-8, Huffman 0-0-0, Murphy 4-0-8, Morgan 2-3-7, Robinson 0-0-0, Moore 1-0-2, Drake 1-0-2. Total 16-4-38. 3-point goals: 2 (McCord, Jamiel). FTM-FTA 4-7, 57 percent.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.