One thing the University Heights Academy Lady Blazers have exhibited this season is persistence and a never quit attitude. Those traits were in evidence again Saturday as the Lady Blazers wrapped up a tough regular season with a 73-53 loss to Christian Fellowship in Blazer Gym.
The Lady Blazers have had only seven players on the roster all season long. They started the game Saturday with only six players available to play. They lost a player late in the first half to a medical issue. They finished the game with only four players after Amaryia Bass fouled out with 3:30 to go in the game.
Still, when the final horn sounded, the Lady Blazers “fearless foursome” on the court was pushing the ball down the floor, driving to the basket, knocking down long-range shots, and crashing the boards for all they were worth, just as if it was the opening moments of the game.
UHA opened the afternoon with an early 5-4 lead. However, those five points would be the last the Lady Blazers scored in the opening quarter, as Christian Fellowship scored the final 16 points of the quarter to take a 20-5 lead.
Behind the play of Gracie Howard and Jayden Jackson, the Lady Eagles would extend the lead in the second quarter. CFS would lead by as many as 23 points before rolling into halftime with a 34-17 lead.
Those in attendance witnessed a scary moment late in the first half. With 2:31 to go in the half, UHA’s Breanna Daniel collapsed near mid-court. After a few moments, Daniel was able to leave the court under her own power but did not return to the court after a stay in the locker room.
Daniel’s departure left the Lady Blazers with only five players for the rest of the contest. As easy as it would have been for the Lady Blazers to just let it ride on out, they continued to fight all the way to the very end.
The Lady Blazers, however, had no answer for Jayden Jackson, who continued to light it up in the second half. CFS extended the lead to 59-33 at the end of the third quarter.
UHA found some offensive firepower in the final quarter and it came from a somewhat unexpected force. Senior center Brittyn Northington, who had spent much of her time down in the paint this season, stepped outside the lane and caught fire. Northington scored 16 points in the second half, included two three-pointers in the final quarter that brought the UHA bench to their feet.
The Lady Blazers would outscore CFS 20-14 in the final quarter, and did so after losing Amaryia Bass to fouls with 3:30 to go in the game, leaving UHA to play out the final moments with only four players on the floor. The Lady Blazers would finish the day on a 12-4 run, with their efforts generating a round of applause as they left the court after the final horn.
A highlight moment of the day was the two teams coming together to pray at the end of the game. The squads prayed for each other’s postseason and for UHA’s Brianna Daniel.
Alecia Davis and Brittyn Northington each finished the game with 18 points to lead University Heights.
Jayden Jackson ended the day with 24 for the Lady Eagles. Gracie Howard added 20.
UHA finishes the regular season at 1-15. The Lady Blazers will open 8th District tournament play Tuesday evening against Hopkinsville at Tiger Gym. Due to COVID protocols, the two teams did not meet during the regular season.