BERWICK — The Berwick High Lady Panthers used a big first quarter to take a 15-7 lead after a period of play.
Ascension Episcopal used a big third-quarter advantage to get back in it and outscored the Lady Panthers in the fourth quarter to escape with a 43-38 victory Friday.
Trailing 22-14 at the half, Ascension Episcopal used a 9-1 third-quarter advantage to get back in the game and take its first lead, 24-23, on a Sara Seago basket with less than a minute remaining.
Berwick’s only points of the quarter came on a free throw by Khadijah Johnson early in the third quarter to up Berwick’s advantage at the time to 22-16.
Johnson, who helped Berwick jump out to the first quarter lead with several baskets, was sidelined most of the third quarter with foul trouble, while teammate McKenzie Baumgartner also was in foul trouble in the third quarter.
Berwick also was without Aija Robinson, who can be a scoring threat, because of injury, Berwick coach Andy Johnson said.
Even more disheartening for the Lady Panthers was that the high percentage shots they were hitting in the first quarter wouldn’t fall in the third period.
“We talked to them at halftime and just told them to come out and play a little harder. … They had one point in the third quarter so that really helped us,” Ascension Episcopal coach Brad Boyd, a former University of Louisiana at Lafayette basketball player, said. “We were down eight (at the beginning) and I think we were up one at the end of the third so it was a big swing for us.”
In the fourth, however, Berwick scored the first three points of the quarter to take a 27-24 lead, but Ascension Episcopal came back to take a 29-26 advantage.
Berwick would tie the game at 29 on a Hayley Girard basket following an assist from Makenzie Reed, but Ascension Episcopal took the lead for good via an 11-2 run.
Seago scored five of Ascension Episcopal points in the run, while Sarah Beadle began it with a three pointer.
Berwick would rally in the last 2:26, though, as it cut the lead to 40-37 via a steal and a lay-in with 1:13 left.
Abigail Ohlin sank the second of two free throws to cut the lead to 40-38 with 1:01 remaining, but the Lady Panthers could get no closer.
“We got in a little foul trouble and we missed some shots right there that were close that could have kept everything level for us,” Walker said. “But we pulled it back together in the fourth quarter and made a game out of it. We hustled there at the end and made a game out of it.”
Johnson led Berwick with 15 points, while Ohlin added nine, Girard, eight, and Alaina Morella, four.
The Lady Panthers will return to action today when they host Hanson Memorial at 6 p.m.
Berwick boys fall, 56-46
Berwick hit the boards in the second half and got hot from beyond the arc late, but could not overcome a big second quarter by Ascension Episcopal in a 56-46 at home Friday.
Trailing 14-10 after a period of play, Berwick cut the Ascension Episcopal lead to one point at 14-13 early in the second quarter via a Nick Canty three pointer.
However, Ascension Episcopal would outscore the homestanding squad, 14-5, the rest of the way to take a 28-13 lead into halftime.
“We struggled a little bit in the first half,” Walker said. “They moved the ball well and set some great screens. They’re well coached, so they really did a good job.”
In the second half, a Berwick three pointer cut its deficit to 30-23 early in the third quarter, and while Ascension Episcopal maintained a double-digit lead for much of the third quarter, Canty’s late in the third quarter cut the deficit to 41-30, and a three pointer with less than a minute remaining by Russo got the deficit under 10 points at 41-33.
Berwick continued its comeback in the fourth as another Canty three pointer and a Russo lay-in cut the deficit to 45-38.
Another three pointer by Russo off an assist by Nicholas Osburn cut the deficit to 45-41 with 5:55 remaining.
However, that would be as close as the Panthers would get as Ascension Episcopal outscored Berwick 11-5 the rest of the way for the victory.
Walker said once his squad started grabbing rebounds, the tempo was turned up.
“Chaz Russo, Palmer Cox and Nick Canty just started hitting the ball great,” he said.
Walker credited the bench play of Brandon Naverro and Johnny Lombas as well as the job of Devin Tabor for helping Berwick on the boards in the second half.
Ascension Episcopal coach Eric Mouton, who played college basketball at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, said he knew the game wouldn’t be an easy one.
“We knew they would be ready to play and they were,” he said of Berwick. “They hit a couple of big three’s that kept them in the game, and we started getting a few stops and executing our offense on this end. … If we would have made free throws, it wouldn’t have been that close, but give them (Berwick) credit, they battled and kept it close for pretty much the whole game.”
Russo led Berwick with 18 points in the victory.
The Panthers will return to action tonight when they host Hanson Memorial. Junior varsity will begin at 5 p.m., while varsity boys’ action is set for a 7 p.m. start.