“We’re kind of used to in now,” said senior guard Brooklyn Nash. “We know how to handle it and we know what needs to be done. We just have to go out and execute.”
Tompkins has gotten comfortable in tight games. Even overtime games.
For the second straight playoff game, the Falcons found themselves in a matchup that went to overtime and came down to the wire.
But the group was undeterred, and for the second straight game, came away with a victory, 57-51 over Stratford on Friday at the Merrell Center in the Class 6A area round.
“We’re kind of used to in now,” said senior guard Brooklynn Nash. “We know how to handle it and we know what needs to be done. We just have to go out and execute.”
Tompkins struggled on offense and with their defense at times, but fought through everything to scrape their way to a win.
“That’s great to see because that fight is something that can’t be coached into them,” said Tompkins head coach Tammy Ray. We have a lot of things to work on, but the effort and fight isn’t one of them.”
Stratford came out with a hot start and jumped on Tompkins early, but the Falcons composed themselves and climbed back into it late in the first quarter. But Stratford still led 15-10 after one.
“We didn’t play well early,” Nash said. “But I’ve seen that we have the will and we all just want to work together, work hard and move the ball around as a team. We had to get back to moving around, getting open and finding the best shot on every possession.”
Tompkins continued to claw their way back into the game and finally gained the lead in the second quarter, and the Falcons led 23-20 at halftime.
Stratford tried to take junior guard Macy Spencer out of the game by face guarding her at all times and for the second straight game, it opened things up for Nash. Nash scored 10 points in the first half and finished with 21 in the game to lead the Falcons.
“She’s taken over in these two games,” Ray said. “Teams have tried to take Macy out of it and she’s a young player and still learning how to play against that when they do. Brooklyn has stepped up and been that leader when we needed her to be.”
Things continued to be back and forth in the third quarter and Tompkins led by just four points headed into the fourth.
Stratford though, wasn’t done.
The Spartans climbed back into the game behind six points from Jasmine Green in the quarter. They tied things late and Tompkins had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but Nash’s layup was swatted away by Green as time expired with things tied at 47.
“I’ve always said that this team loves to fight,” Spencer said. “Even in tough situations we always find a way to pull through and we have a lot of grit. We just have what it takes in these moments.”
Spencer took it upon herself to lead the team in overtime, going 6-6 at the free throw line to finish with 15 points and taking over when needed to seal things.
“Last game we went into overtime to and I just knew what I needed to do,” Spencer said. “I was just like ‘you know, I’m going to do whatever it takes.’ We all want to win so bad. Brooklyn was doing so good again and I just wanted to do my part. I’m a good free throw shooter so I just made sure to get the ball and hit my shots at the line.”
Tompkins advances to the regional quarterfinals, where they will play Dulles at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Merrell Center.
“We just need to figure out what our opponent is doing sooner and figure out what works on defense,” Nash said. “This game it took us a long time to figure out how to guard them and realize we needed to play man.”
Class 6A area round
Tompkins 57, Stratford 51
Points: (T) Brooklynn Nash 21, Macy Spencer 15, Kennedy Bouroque 6, Rihanna DeLeon 5, Fiyin Adeleye 4, Gabby Panter 4; (S) Jakyla Cheeves14, Audrey Hernandez 11, Jasmine Green 9, Maggie Parker 7, Rachel Ashby 5, Nilou Mahmoodpour 3, Holly Horton 2
Halftime: Tompkins 23-20; 3-Pointers: (T) Nash, Spencer, DeLeon; (S) Hernandez 3, Cheeves, Mahmoodpour, Ashby; Records: Tompkins 35-3; Stratford 14-16
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