LELAND — Avenging an early season loss to its Highway 82 East rival, the Leland Cubettes (10-3) squeaked by the Gentry Lady Rams 44-39 Saturday night.
With Gentry (5-7) threatening to overtake Leland’s lead early in the fourth quarter, Cubettes senior forward Imani Campbell grabbed a physical offensive rebound, powered through a Lady Rams foul and competed an old fashion three-point play to reenergize her teammates.
From that point, the Cubettes turned the pressure up on the Lady Rams and extended to a 40-30 lead with 4:05 remaining in the game.
“When Imani plays well, the entire team plays well,” said Leland head coach Patansy Miller-Hampton. “They all feed off her.”
Leland maintained control of the game throughout until the closing minutes of the third quarter. Gentry turned up the pressure on the Cubettes forcing three consecutive turnovers and scoring seven unanswered points to close to a 33-28 deficit at the end of three quarter.
“We didn’t have Cee Cee (Camariyah Butler) in the game at the time and they took advantage of it,” Miller- Hampton said. “She’s our primary ball handler but I told the team that they need to get use to playing without her.”
Leland overcame a late run by the Lady Rams when Jaidra Green knocked down a jumper for Gentry cutting the score to 41-37 with 39.7 seconds remaining in the contest. Leland also had to overcome an ankle injury to key reserve Janilyia McAdory who went out of the game early in the fourth quarter. From there, the Cubbette used the clock to their advantage by making multiple passes and looking for easy shots.
“I felt like we shouldn’t have lost the first time we played them this year,” Miller-Hampton said. “If we are playing well and on one accord, we can win the 2A title. But this is certainly an early Christmas present.”