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Girls basketball: Cox, Deary net baskets in final seconds for Flower Mound win
FLOWER MOUND — The early advantage in District 5-5A shifted in Flower Mound’s advantage Tuesday as the Lady Jaguars notched a 50-46 victory on the road over Marcus.
The Lady Jaguars and Lady Marauders entered the contest as the lone unbeatens remaining in district. With the win, Flower Mound (4-0) moved into sole possession of first ahead of Marcus (3-1).
The Lady Jaguars maintained a small advantage for a majority of the contest, but found themselves trailing, 46-44, with 44 seconds remaining.
However, freshman Lauren Cox — who finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds to go with six blocks — hit a high-arching bank shot with a pair of defenders draped over her to tie the contest, 46-46. Marcus got an open look from long-range on its ensuing possession to regain the lead, but the shot missed and Cox gobbled up the rebound and found guard Ashley Deary on the outlet for a coast-to-coast layup for the go-ahead points.
Following another Marcus miss, Cox grabbed the board and hit Deary down court, who found Marin Mills for the sealing bucket.
“I told the girls that 1:11 is a long time,” said Sherika Nelson, Flower Mound head coach. “We’ve believed the whole game and don’t stop believing this last minute and something good will happen.
“This was a good win for our program and I think the adversity we’ve overcome this year helped us in that situation. We’ve had four games that came down to the wire and we won two and lost two. So I think it proved for us to play those games and we learned from it.”
Deary finished with 16 points, five rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Jenna Davis and Morgan Easley paced the Lady Marauders with 12 points apiece, while Sierra Bone provided a spark off the bench and finished with nine points.
“You have to give Flower Mound tons of credit,” said Fred Jones, Marcus head coach. “In the last 35 seconds, it just comes down to one shot. We make it, we in. They make it, they win. But Lauren Cox had an incredible game and she made a tough shot. She had three or four girls hanging on her.”
Late in the fourth, Easley hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Marcus a 45-44 advantage and later split a pair of free throws to push the margin to 46-44. She also had seven rebounds and a pair of steals.
“Morgan is our clutch player,” Jones said. “The Cedar Hill game … I can name numerous games where she came through with the game on the line. She made a huge three. It was her first game back from an injury and getting her back in the flow was big for us.”
While Easley was effective in the closing minutes, it was Cox who got the Lady Jaguars out to a fast start. Flower Mound led, 16-10, midway through the second quarter with the freshman recording 10 of the 16 points.
“They came in with lots of energy, ready to play and took it to us right from the beginning,” Jones said. “[Cox] is unconventional because she is so tall but can play away from the basket. She causes a lot of mismatches.”
While Cox started well, she got into foul trouble in the third and had to sit. However, the Lady Jaguars maintained their three-point advantage.
Cox returned in the fourth and paired with Deary (11 fourth quarter points) to lead the squad down the stretch.
“Ashley and Lauren have that knack that when the game is on the line, they’re going to be the ones that have the ball and are making plays,” Nelson said.
The Lady Jaguars had a chance to complete a perfect first half of district play Friday with a win over Denton Ryan.
“[Tuesday] was a big win in the district, but we have six more games to go,” Nelson said. “We’re going to enjoy this but we’re looking at Friday now. If we want to be district champs, we have to keep going one game at a time.”
Marcus looks to bounce back Friday against Hebron.
“Our girls see the long haul and know the ultimate goal,” Jones said. “We talk about every day being state champs and that it’s a learning process and a journey. We know that tonight nobody won a playoff game or won a state title. But we also know we have to learn from this loss and get better from it.”