2012 HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational Live Blog

FINAL: Broughton downs Holly Springs with buzzer-beater

Posted December 26, 2012

Final -- Broughton 62, Holly Springs 60: Broughton senior Justice Byrd grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up with two seconds remaining to give Broughton a last-second win against Holly Springs. The Hawks came back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit to tie the game when Linnea Hoots drained a 3-pointer with 35 seconds to go that knotted the game at 60.

Byrd finished with 14 points, while Nadine Ealey led Broughton with 19. Kiara Leslie was the game's leading scorer, notching a 29-point, 10-rebound double-double. Leslie picked up two charging fouls in the game's closing minutes and was forced to watch the closing 1:15 from the bench.

Broughton will move on to face Hillside tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.. Holly Springs will face Cary Academy tomorrow morning at 10:30.

Third Quarter -- Broughton 49, Holly Springs 42: The Hawks fell behind by as much as 15 early in the third quarter, but a 10-2 run to close the quarter cut Broughton's lead to seven with a quarter to go.

The Capitals came out of the locker room the aggressor, going on an 8-2 run to restart play. Midway through the quarter, Kiara Leslie found her rhythm again to make it a ball game. She scored nine points in the third quarter to bring her game's total to 24. That, combined with better ball control, allowed the Hawks to close the quarter with the lion's share of momentum.

Broughton's Nadine Ealey turned in nine points of her own in the third quarter, and she leads Broughton with 15.

Halftime -- Broughton 37, Holly Springs 27: For a brief moment, Kiara Leslie brought Holly Springs back within three points of Broughton. Once she picked up her third foul and was forced to sit out the remainder of the half, though, the Capitals went on a 10-4 run to stretch its halftime lead to nine points.

Broughton's halfcourt trap continues to plague the Hawks. The Capitals caused four turnovers and turned them all into fast-break layups in the last two minutes of the half alone. Justice Byrd was active at the top of the defense, forcing a number of turnovers. She also tallied six points in the second quarter to give her eight for the day. Broughton guard Megan Sullivan has also registered eight first-half points, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Leslie leads Holly Springs with 15 points and six rebounds at halftime. Elisabeth Kuehnast stepped up in Leslie's place and turned in four second-quarter points to keep the Hawks within reach.

Leslie has the ability to single-handedly bring the Hawks back into this game, but she'll need to stave off her fourth foul for as long as possible. Broughton's relentless defense makes it easy for her and the rest of Holly Springs to play fast and a bit out of control, so settling down needs to be a point of emphasis in the Hawks' halftime locker room.

First Quarter -- Broughton 21, Holly Springs 14: After a see-saw contest throughout the first half of the quarter, Broughton cranked up its defensive pressure and forced Holly Springs into several turnovers and contested shots. The Capitals converted those defensive stops into transition buckets on the other end to gain control of the game.

Megan Sullivan leads Broughton with five points, and her 3-pointer late in the quarter incited a furious timeout call from Holly Springs coach Richard Young. The Ealey sisters are making it difficult for the Hawks guards to get the ball to their star, Kiara Leslie.

When Leslie has gotten the ball, she's been as good as advertised. She leads Holly Springs with eight points and has also snagged four rebounds. Broughton is controlling tempo and momentum at the end of the first. Holly Springs needs to settle down and focus on possessing the ball before the Capitals run away with the game by halftime.

Pregame: Holly Springs returns to the Holiday Invitational trying to improve on its third-place finish a year ago. The Hawks will be squaring off against Broughton for the second game of the day. Both teams are off to a good start this season, and the matchup pits two of the area's best teams against each other.

The Hawks (7-1, 2-1 Tri-9) are led by guard Kiara Leslie -- the reigning Tri-9 Player of the Year and sister of N.C. State star C.J. Leslie. Coach Richard Young led the Hawks to a 19-8 record a year ago.

Broughton (7-1, 1-1 Cap 8) will try to answer Leslie with a corps of tough defenders. Sisters Nadine and Kaila Ealey are both quick, ball-hawking defenders who can cause trouble for the Hawks' backcourt. The Capitals are bolstered on the offensive end by guard Justice Byrd, who helped Broughton to a 19-8 record last year. The Capitals didn't play in the Holiday Tournament last year, but they took home the championship in 2010.

The winner between Holly Springs and Broughton will face Hillside at 1:30 on Thursday. The loser plays Thursday morning at 10:30 against Cary Academy.

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