The Flagler Saints got a late three and a couple late free-throws, helping them beat the Florida Tech women 56-53 Saturday in the Florida Tech Classic at the Clemente Center.
The Panthers struggled from the floor, shooting 20-of-52 (38.5 percent). They were 4-of-14 (28.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Saints shot 32.7 percent from the floor (17-of-52) and they were 5-of-19 from long range, 26.3 percent.
Panthers Coach John Reynolds called Flagler the best team in the tournament, following the Panthers loss to NYIT on Friday and his team gave the Saints all they could handle, as Gracie Doane‘s final shot never got to the hoop.
“We created our own opportunities and in the second half I thought we defended really well in the second half,” said Reynolds in his postgame interview with Jim Mitchell. “I think Flagler’s a really good basketball team, I think they’re balanced.”
Amanda Allen led the Panthers with 17 points and Kailyn Ebb poured in 15 and added nine rebounds, missing a double-double by one board. The Panthers won the battle on the boards 40-33 overall.
“Amanda Allen’s been ready to play every game,” said Reynolds. “Her and Kailyn have been our most consistent practice players. I thought Amanda played a good game, but I thought Kailyn played a good game too.”
Florida Tech (2-2) led 7-2 early, but Flagler went on an 8-0 run of their own and ended the first quarter with a 14-9 lead.
The second quarter went back-and-forth throughout, with Flagler boosting their lead to four, 31-27 at the halftime break. Ebb had 11 points at the break, while Allen had eight, including the only two three-pointers for the Panthers, who finished the half 2-for-6 in that department.
Florida Tech tied it at 31 to start the third on buckets from Allen and Aniquah Swan. Flagler scored their first points of the quarter with 6:38 remaining. Doane missed two threes late in the quarter but did put in an offensive rebound, making it 39-37. Flagler would end the quarter on a 7-0 run and lead 44-39.
Flagler (4-1) would stretch the lead to 48-41 to start the fourth, but a layup by Ebb and a jumper by Allen made it 48-45. A basket by the Saints stretched it to 50-45, but Allen drained a three with 4:07 left, getting it to within two.
Flagler answered that with a three by Dayuna Johnson with 3:37 to go, giving them a 53-48 lead.
“That kid made a shot,” said Reynolds. “She hit a deep three and I thought that was like a dagger right there.”
That would be the last Flagler field goal and the Panthers got an offensive rebound and put back by Ebb with 2:35 to go to draw it closer at 53-50. Flagler would turn the ball over with 2:16 to go and Doane would make them pay, hitting a three to tie the game at 53.
Flagler’s final points of the game came with 16.1 seconds left and after a Florida Tech miss, Flagler got another free-throw with 0.7 left.
That left the Panthers with one more chance and Doane had the ball in her hands with a chance to tie, but she was hit as she got the shot off.
“I know we were fouled on the last shot, I know we were fouled on the last shot,” said Reynolds. “But the game doesn’t come down to that, you’re never gonna say the official didn’t blow the whistle, we didn’t get a shot. That’s crap because we missed five free-throws. I thought the officiating was consistent, I’m not gonna put anything on anybody, except ourselves.”
For more info: Flagler @ Florida Tech Box Score
The Panthers will next take the floor on Monday, November 19th, in an exhibition against Webber International at the Clemente Center. Tip time is at 5:30 p.m.