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Lady Vikings Rally in Fourth Quarter for Thrilling 38-32 Win over Rival Stratford

MACON, Ga. – Heading into Tuesday’s Region 7-A contest against Stratford Academy, FPD head girls coach John Griffin had some unanswered questions.

Would his leading scorer Kate Patterson (14.5 points per game) be out again due to illness? Would the Lady Vikings use their trademark defense to try and stymie an Eaglette team that averages nearly 56 points per game and was riding a nine-game winning streak? Would the emotions of a rivalry play a positive factor?

The answer turned out to be a resounding yes as the Lady Vikings (8-5, 2-0 Reg. 7-A) rallied by the Eaglettes (12-2, 1-1 Reg. 7-A) in the fourth quarter en route to a 38-32 come-from-behind region win on Tuesday night at Stratford’s Grady Smith Gymnasium.

It’s the Lady Vikings’ first win against Stratford since Feb. 13, 2009 – a 49-38 victory. Prior to Tuesday’s contest, the Eaglettes had won five straight against the Lady Vikings. Tuesday night was also the first win against Stratford in the GHSA era.

“I’m just proud of the girls for their heart and determination,” Griffin said. “We’ve had an up and down year with us trying to understand what we want our team identity to be. I think and hope that came together tonight.”

FPD led 6-5 at the end of the first quarter but trailed 20-12 at halftime after the Eaglettes outscored the Lady Vikings 15-6 in the second quarter.

“We didn’t take good care of the basketball in the first half,” Griffin said. “We had about 19 turnovers and we were playing way t0o fast. I told the girls at halftime the only way we can get back in this game is to play under control defense and rebound. We did those two things and were able to get the win.”

It still took work, though. Both squads evened out at nine points each in the third quarter. The Eaglettes led 29-21 heading into the final quarter.

“I was hoping we had some sort of run in us,” Griffin said.

Thankfully, the Lady Vikings did.

Sadie Frame, Kate Patterson and Ali Purdy, who had been held scoreless for the first three quarters, combined for 10 of FPD’s 17 points in the fourth quarter while holding the Eaglettes to just three points to take the win.

“Those three players stepped up for sure,” Griffin said. “But I thought altogether we grew up as a team tonight. Emma (Lako) had a great game and Sydney did too. Everything just fell into place at the end.”

Lako led the Lady Vikings in scoring with a game-high 13 points. Reese finished with eight points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals as well.

FPD pounded the glass all night as 24 of their 37 rebounds came on the defensive side.

Patterson and Frame also notched respectable rebounding numbers, finishing with 11 and 10.

“This was a true team win,” Griffin said. “We never got too emotional and we played within ourselves. We made some mistakes but we overcame them. I’m proud of all the girls tonight. We’ll enjoy it and get back to work for Mount de Sales on Friday and Brookstone on Saturday.”

The Lady Vikings welcome the Lady Cavaliers of Mount de Sales to the Middlebrooks Athletic Center on Friday night, Jan. 8.

The opening tip is slated for 6 p.m.

The First Presbyterian Day School Department of Athletics strives to build the student athlete both in the playing arena and the classroom while upholding the school’s mission statement to educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory. For more information, visit www.fpdvikings.com and sign up for up-to-the-minute news and scores by following the Vikings on Twitter at @FPDVikingSports and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fpdathletics.

BOX SCORE:

FPD 38, STRATFORD 32

FPD 6-6-9-17 — 38
SEA 5-15-9-3 — 32

FPD: Emmma Lako 13, Sydney Reese 8, Bailey Ruble 5, Kate Patterson 4, Sadie Frame 4, Ali Purdy 2, Molly Lee 2.

SEA: Ashlee Francis 11, Carey Woodcock 9, Evans McCook 4, Mary Wilson Avant 3, Aysha Roberts 2, Ann Thompson 2, Emory Sutherland 1.

3-pointers: SEA 3 (Woodcock 3); FPD 1 (Ruble).

Records: FPD 8-5, 2-0 Reg. 7-A; Stratford 12-2, 1-1 Reg. 7-A.

Next: Mount de Sales at FPD, 6:30 p.m., Friday.