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Patriots escape with win

Over the course of one half, Wallace built a 14-point lead over L.B. Wallace.

But, the Patriots’ cushion slowly dwindled through the second half as Alicia Young put the Saints on her back and led L.B. Wallace to its first lead in more than 22 minutes.

The Patriots bounced back, retook the lead and fended off the Saints to secure a 67-59 win on Saturday

“It was a hard win, but I’ll take it,” said Wallace coach Antoinette Blevins. “(We) left a lot of people open for wide open layups. When we changed defense and went man-to-man, it changed it back to our favor.”

Trailing 10-9 midway through the first half, the Patriots went on a 14-2 run capped by a Vinecia Dudley 3-pointer to take a 23-12 lead. Wallace built the lead to 31-17 at the half.

“We didn’t play well the first half,” said L.B. Wallace coach Ricky Knight. “We had a lot of turnovers and took a lot of bad shots.”

The Saints — Young in particular — bounced back found their offensive groove in the second half. L.B. Wallace opened the period with an 11-2 run to make it a 35-28 ball game, and a 10-2 run trimmed the Patriots advantage to just three points at the 10:25 mark.

Over the course of that stretch, Young contributed 15 of her game-high 21 points to the Saints’ cause. She tied the game with a shot and free throw after a foul with 9:58 left in the game.

For the most part, L.B. Wallace held the lead for the next six minutes before a Brittany Harris layup tied the game at 56 with 3:08 remaining. Shania O’Neal hit two free throws to put the Patriots ahead for good.

“We were starting to settle down and get back in it, but we weren’t good enough to hold on,” said Knight.

A Keshara Moore jump shot made it a 4-point game with 1:04 left, and the Saints were forced into panic mode. Missed shots and turnovers led to fouls and seven Patriots points from the free throw line to secure the win.

“I’m shocked we made them,” said Blevins. “We missed so many in the first half.”

O’Neal led the Patriots with 10 points, and Kenisha Poole added 10.

Kendra Brooks added 11 for the Saints.