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Western beats clock, St. Frances


It was a feat in itself that Western junior guard Lavon Woods - burdened with four fouls at the half - was still playing basketball in the final second of overtime against host St. Frances at yesterday's Panther Invitational Tournament.

What she did in that last tick of the clock certainly made it all worthwhile.

Woods hit a 12-foot jumper from the left side to beat the buzzer and send the No. 2 Doves past the No. 4 Panthers, 46-45, and into today's championship game.

Western (6-2) will meet last night's Southside-Good Counsel winner in tonight's 7 o'clock final. Host St. Frances (7-4) returns to the court at 5 p.m. to take on the Southside-Good Counsel loser for third place.

The Panthers were twice on the line in the final 15 seconds of overtime with a 45-44 lead, but couldn't finish off the Doves.

With four seconds to play, Western center Whitney Cunningham grabbed the last missed free throw and sent a long outlet to Woods, who took care of the rest.

"I have never done that before in my life. I don't know, I just wanted to win," said Woods, who finished with 11 points. "I had a pretty good look - a wide-open shot, that side was wide open and we just worked as a team."

The Doves had plenty to overcome yesterday to get the positive result. They trailed 21-14 at the half, turned the ball over 38 times and shot 26 percent from the field (13-for-50).

But a strong inside game from Cunningham, who matched Woods' team-high 11 points and added five blocked shots, and strong all-around play on defense was able to carry them through.

"I couldn't be more proud of my team. They fought back through adversity, stayed steadfast with each other and fought hard," said Western coach Donchez Graham. "It's not only a big win for Western, but all city schools because we don't always get looked upon as teams that can compete with the private schools."

St. Frances got 11 points from Maya Newman, and Mi-Khida Hankins, who struggled with foul trouble early, added nine points.

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