Patillo’s 25 points helps Springwood down Macon-East

Published 10:27 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

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It wasn’t the cleanest win, but a big third quarter from the Lady Wildcats and Tori Patillo’s 25 points helped Springwood take down Macon-East 44-39 in the region tournament to clinch the three seed in the AISA tournament.

Patillo was thrilled to help out her team.

“I’m just playing to play with my team,” Patillo said.

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“I enjoy playing with them. I just play hard for them ever since I came back from my injury. I have to show what I can do. Nothing can stop me. My next goal is to win it all with my team.”

Springwood head coach Lisa Sampson was pleased to see her freshman point guard play so well.

“We have some kids who are under the weather,” Sampson said.

“We told her she has to put the team on her back.  She wasn’t being selfish. What a great player. We’re lucky to have her and her toughness as a ninth grader. She’s just going to get better. That’s fun to watch.”

The first quarter looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for Springwood as Macon-East shot off to a 5-0 lead.

It took almost four minutes, but the Lady Wildcats got on the board after Tori Patillo knocked down a layup and scored the and-one after drawing a foul.

It was a low scoring quarter, but the Lady Wildcats closed the lead to 7-5 after Patillo nailed another basket.

The Lady Wildcats had a chance to tie the game up after Patillo drew another foul with 0.7 seconds left, but she missed both free throws, and the Lady Knights took the lead at the end of the first quarter.

Springwood couldn’t shoot well in the first quarter, but they picked things up in the second quarter as Haley Hurst opened up with a basket to tie the game at seven.

The Lady Knights responded with back-to-back threes, but the Lady Wildcats never gave up.

Patillo scored five straight points to cut the lead to 14-12, and Madison Robinson hit a basket to tie the game at 14.

Patillo gave the Lady Wildcats their first lead with a basket with 3:11 left in the first half.

The Lady Knights tied the game back up, but Haley Hurst hit a key jumper with a minute left to give Springwood an 18-16 lead at halftime.

The third quarter was massive for the Lady Wildcats.

After taking a 26-24 lead at the start of the quarter, Springwood ended the quarter on a 6-1 run with two threes from Patillo to make it a 32-25 game heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lady Wildcats started to show some fatigue in the fourth quarter, but EJ Matthews came up huge with seven points in the quarter alone to help the Wildcats keep the lead.

Sampson feels like her girls did get complacent at times.

“There was complacency the whole game,” Sampson said.

“They put so much effort into last night’s game. It’s hard for any team to come back and have the same energy. They finished, and that’s the biggest thing. That was the goal. To win a game this close and take care of the basketball and make free throws was huge for us.”

Patillo had 23 points on “Michael Jordan Day” until she hit two free throws with 14 seconds left to secure the win for Springwood.

Sampson was also pleased with her team’s three point defense.

“You have to recognize the shooters and get there,” Sampson said.

“I’m not making any excuses, but they were under the weather. We’ll be ready.”

The Lady Wildcats now await their fate as they will travel to face the region two runner-ups next week.

“These girls are excited,” Sampson said.

“They don’t care where we’re going. They’re just ready to play. Our quickness on defense needs to be better. We need to move when the ball is in the air instead of when the next player catches it. We’ll get back to work on that, and we’ll be ready.”