Tiger tough

Hard-nosed Whitney O'Mara, left, hit the go-ahead shot Saturday in Georgetown's 76-71 win over Pikeville.

Win most of your first-semester games, then hold serve in the friendly confines of Davis-Reid Alumni Gym.

That was the successful strategy when Georgetown College snapped a lengthy NAIA national tournament drought last winter, and it’s playing out nicely so far with a younger group in 2019-2020.

GC backed up a win at Pikeville in last winter’s Mid-South Conference quarterfinals with a 76-71 triumph Saturday.

“They’re good. They’re not receiving votes (in the national poll), and they’re probably better than that, for no reason,” GC coach James Jackson said of UPike. “That’s a national tournament type environment right there. They play their guts out. It’s what you expect, that type of a game all the time.”

Raegan Williams combined 18 points with eight rebounds for GC (11-4 overall, 2-0 MSC). Madison Darnell added 16 points and a team-high 10 boards.

Whitney O’Mara’s 15 points included a fade-away 3-pointer that put the Tigers in front to stay on their initial possession of the second half. GC turned a 30-29 halftime deficit into a 54-43 lead in the third period.

“I was pleased with the fight and how we found a way, and how we responded, especially in the second half,” Jackson said. “I thought we played hard, but we did some uncharacteristically sloppy and silly things, especially offensively. Just things you’ve got clean up with getting back and getting practice and games under your belt after being off for three weeks.”

Alexis Stapleton furnished 14 points for Georgetown. She and Williams each nailed two of the Tigers’ six 3-pointers.

Mary Englert buried five shots from beyond the arc for Pikeville (12-3, 2-1) and wound up with a game-high 24 points. A.J. Reed and Brianna Burbridge each scored a dozen.

Olivia Bowling made four steals and Kennedy Flynn dished out six assists to ignite GC, which overcame 23 turnovers. Darnell sank three of four free throws in the final 33 seconds to slam the door.

“I’m gonna knock on wood, barring injuries and anything, I still think the best is yet to come with this team and this program,” Jackson said. “We’re young still, but I think we’ve got something special happening here.”

Kal Oakes can be reached via email at sports@news-graphic.com.

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