Porsha Justice looks for an opening against the Whitley County defense.

WILLIAMSBURG — Kayla Osborne scored her only bucket of the game with 14 seconds left Monday, giving Whitley County a come-from-behind 54-53 win over South Laurel.

The Cardinals (10-6, 2-2 dist.) got their biggest lead at 50-39 after consecutive stickbacks by Lauren Wombles and Porsha Justice with six minutes to play, but were outscored 15-3 the rest of the way.

“We didn’t execute defensively very well,” Cardinal coach Konnie Snyder said. “We let people stand open, and we just can’t do that, and we weren’t crashing the boards like we were in the first half.”

The loss left South Laurel with an outside shot at claiming the top seed in the district. A win at home Jan. 19 over Corbin would likely forge a three-way tie atop the district race, with the Cardinals beating Whitley 52-49 in overtime last month, and the Colonels having already split the season series with Corbin.

“Corbin’s still out front right now,” Snyder said. The Corbin game “becomes a little more important now.”

The Cardinals appeared to be on the way to a runaway road win. Holding a 40-37 lead, Johnna Sizemore hit a three at the buzzer to end the third quarter, then Whitney Smith canned another to open the fourth and give South its largest lead to that point at 46-37.

But Whitley County (10-5, 3-2 dist.) played best with its back against the wall after falling behind by double digits. Holly Jones hit a three and a layup to cut the South lead to six, then hit Stephanie McCullah on the left wing for a three, trimming the Cardinal lead to 53-52.

“We just didn’t step up and make plays, and they did,” Snyder said.

The Colonels hit 46 percent to South’s 36 — including 56 percent after halftime. That helped negate the Cardinals’ 37-23 advantage on the glass.

South Laurel started out with a strong first quarter from the charity stripe, hitting all six attempts. But after that, trips to the line were disastrous, as the Cards were 3-for-13 the rest of the way — including missing five of six in the fourth quarter.

Wombles finished with a double-double, grabbing 14 rebounds and hitting 6-of-12 shots on the way to a team-high 16. Her attempt at a game-winning shot rimmed off in the closing seconds.

“We came expecting to win, and playing hard enough to win, but we just couldn’t finish it tonight,” Snyder said.

Randal Holbrook hurt the Cardinals from all over the court, pouring in 22 points. McCullah had 13 and Jones had 10. Smith (12) and Makenzie McWhorter (11) also hit double figures for the Cardinals.

Whitley Co. 54, South Laurel 53

SL 15 14 14 10—53

WC 15 9 13 17—54

SL (53)—Smith 12, Wombles 16, Justice 8, Sizemore 4, McWhorter 11, Clark 2.

WC (54)—McCullah 13, Holbrook 22, Brimm 4, Jones 10, Osborne 2, Rhodes 2, Gray 1.

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