GIBSONTON — Durant turned up the pressure and forced East Bay into 35 turnovers in the Cougars' 52-47 victory Friday. The win assures Durant the second seed in the 5A-8 tournament.
"This was huge for us," Cougars coach Kyla DonLevy said. "We're usually led by Eryka (Williams) and Taylor (Broadnax), but everyone chipped in."
Both teams struggled in the first quarter, and the Indians took a 25-24 lead into the locker room behind 16 points from Shytina Harley, who finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Durant was able to stay close as Broadnax scored nine and Williams added seven. The Cougars forced 19 turnovers in the half and shot 10-of-20 from the free-throw line.
"We're inexperienced at guard," Indians coach Terry Varvil Jr. said. "We have one who has played a lot and the rest are sophomores."
After halftime the Cougars were able to get the bigger Indians in foul trouble and send Harley to the bench, allowing Durant to take a 38-36 lead at the end of the third quarter. Brittany Mobley kept the Indians in the game with five points in the quarter.
"Being able to come in and shut down Harley was a huge goal for us," DonLevy said. "They changed to zone and we knew as long as we had the ball we were in control."
East Bay started the fourth with a basket from Stacy-Ann Blake and took a late lead on a layup by Allyssia Hodge. But Durant's pressure proved too much. After another Indians turnover, Ashley Davis made an up-and-under layup with 55 seconds to give Durant the lead for good. A 3-pointer by Williams put the game away.
Williams finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds while Broadnax added 13 points and six steals.