By Russell Moore
For The Times
Wallace State women’s basketball coach Ron Burdette is always curious to see when the light goes off for one of his freshmen.
It was Jorden Quick’s turn Saturday afternoon in a gritty 62-58 Homecoming victory over Snead State. Quick’s 3-pointer with 1:22 remaining in the game shifted the lead back in Wallace State’s favor for good and helped the Lady Lions remain in contention for a conference tournament bye.
Quick’s trey was the only field goal she converted in six attempts, but it was one Burdette feel will have a positive effect, especially after the Cullman graduate has struggled with injuries this season.
“When you’re a freshman, you have that one big shot or one big game. That was it for Jorden,” Burdette said. “I doubt she will look back. She’ll turn a corner and be fine and have all the confidence in the world.”
Wallace State’s women wore special pink uniforms, and Burdette adorned a pink tie against the Lady Parsons to recognize breast cancer awareness.
“This week has been designated as Coaches vs. Cancer, and it’s important we support what’s going on around the country. We’re honored to take a part in the breast cancer awareness that is so prevalent,” Burdette said. “I’m sure every family at our game today has been touched by it one way or another, whether it’s through cancer remission or by losing a loved one.”
Like many of the women’s home games have been this season, Saturday’s was a see-saw affair. Wallace State (18-8, 4-2 ACCC) led 18-10 after the game’s first 10 minutes, but Snead State battled back and grabbed a 28-22 advantage with a little more than five minutes remaining in the first half. The Lions then tied it at 28-28 before the Parson controlled a slim 33-31 lead at halftime.
Neither team maintained more than a five-point cushion after the break. Ashunte Smith’s bucket in the lane gave Snead State a 56-51 advantage with 5:15 remaining.
Wallace State, however, had the final blow. Ashley Nance’s four straight points for the Lady Lions and a DeAndrea Carter free throw tied it at 56-56 with 3:46 remaining.
Less than a minute later, Snead State’s Angelique Wilkerson earned the lead back with a runner. Quick then answered the call for the Lady Lions, nailing her 3 from the top of the key to give Wallace State at 59-58 advantage. Carter, Jasmine Coleman and Jaylan Snowden hit a free throw apiece in the final 40 seconds to seal the win.
“In November or December, we probably folded when we were down five points late, so I’m glad our women found a way to win. They dug down, played hard and gutted it out,” Burdette said. “I preach to our team that we never know who’s going to hit a big shot or make a big play. I’m glad Jorden kept shooting to be able to make that big shot.”
Nance led Wallace State with 18 points, Morgan Pearson poured in 14 and Snowden added 11. Coleman finished with a game-high 16 rebounds.
Smith led Snead State in the loss with 26 points.
Wallace State 62, Snead State 54: The Lions picked up strong play from its bench as well Saturday and put together one of its more impressive wins of the season, completing the Homecoming sweep.
Sophomores Jamalcolm Griffin and Jacquise Moore combined for 19 points off the bench, all coming in the second half. Griffin finished with 11, and Moore added eight for the defending ACCC/Region 22 tournament champions.
Griffin’s biggest shot Saturday was reminiscent of the performance he put on at the region tournament in Tuscaloosa last season when he was named MVP after nailing five 3’s in the championship game and 11 overall.
With the game tied at 35-35 with 11:55 remaining, Griffin drained a 3-pointer from the left corner, drew a foul and completed the four-point play with a free throw.
The Lions (15-11, 2-6 ACCC) kept Snead State at bay the rest of the way.
“I’ve really been challenging Jamalcolm (Griffin) and Jacquise (Moore) to step up and be leaders like they were at the state tournament last season. The key to our run last season was that they were on the same page with me. They executed and listened and that’s why we won,” said Wallace State coach John Meeks, whose team had nine players score. “I felt we were successful today (Saturday) because we executed down the stretch and ran our sets effectively. We had a balanced offensive attack, and that’s huge for us.”
Jestin Lewis scored a team-high 15 points to lead the Lions, Ryan King scored all eight of his points in the second half and Sean Anthony added six off the bench.
DeMarcus Threatt had 15 points for Snead State, and DeMarcus Robinson added 10.
Both Wallace State teams continue conference play at home on Monday, hosting Gadsden State in another important doubleheader, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re already talking about a one-game season. We’re not thinking about the 25 before or the next four,” Meeks said. “We’re focusing on playing with the energy of the Georgia Highlands win and with the execution of the Southern Union win.”