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The Cooper Lady Bulldogs basketball team was without leading scorer Presley Limbaugh Tuesday evening when they took on Quinlan Boles. It didn’t matter, though, as the team rallied from an early deficit to prevail 55-49.

The game started off shakily to say the least, and the Lady Hornets built up a 10-point lead fairly quickly in the opening period.

The Lady Bulldogs found their legs after that, however, and proceeded to fight their way back into it with strong offensive execution and gritty defensive pressure.

They ended the first half on a marvelous run, capped off by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by guard Madison Murray, who was starting in place of Limbaugh.

“That was a big momentum-shifter for us,” head coach Samuel Hollenshead said. “That was definitely a game-changer right there.”

By the time the two teams entered the fourth quarter, Cooper had taken a one-point lead.

Then in the fourth, senior point guard Whitney Langley came alive. She scored nine crucial points in the final stanza, often in critical junctures, helping her team protect the lead.

“It was nerve-wracking going into the fourth,” she said. “I only had five points in the first half, but I knew I had to step up for my team and be a leader.”

Another player who delivered some late-game heroics for the Lady Bulldogs was Macy Green, who secured the win with clutch free throws in the final moments.

“What was running through my mind was just that I couldn’t let my teammates down,” Green said. “All it would’ve taken was one or two missed and the game would’ve been totally different. ... I’d never been in that sort of situation before, at the free throw line that late with the game so close.”

Langley finished with a game-high 14, Kenzlee Randle scored 12 and Chesney Kinnamon had 10. Murray scored nine, Caitlin Brown finished with six, Green had three and Heidi Wood had one.

“This game we gave more effort and heart than we have all season,” Langley said. “There wasn’t one player who didn’t buy in.”

Tommy Culkin is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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