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Bassett gets it done
Freshman scores decisive goal
Bassett’s Nicole Shelton (12) fights for possession with G.W.-Danville’s Deneysha Goods (14) during Bassett’s 4-2 win against the Eagles on Wednesday in Bassett. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Thursday, March 14, 2013
By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer
With a total of four goals scored in the opening 20 minutes of Wednesday’s championship game of the Henry County Cup girls soccer tournament, it seemed only fitting that it took 55 more minutes for the next goal to be scored. But when it happened, it didn’t come a moment too soon.
After Bassett senior Nicole Shelton and junior Madison Rogers gave the Bengals an early 2-0 lead on the Bassett’s first two shots of the match, it came down to an unlikely source to provide the winner.
Freshman Heather Hawley scored in the 75th minute to help lift Bassett to a 4-2 victory over G.W.-Danville on a brisk and windy night at Ed Bassett Stadium in Bassett.
“Heather Hawley has been working hard since September with off season work, playing for PYSL, and we’re just so proud of her getting her first goal and know it’s a big accomplishment,” Bassett head coach Matt Beaton said.
Hawley controlled a turnover at the right edge of the penalty box, beat a defender to her right and then lobbed a shot over the keeper to the far side netting as the game was looking like it might head to overtime.
“I really can’t believe it and didn’t think I was going to do it this year,” Hawley said. “I knew there was one defender and if I could get by her I would have an open shot. I managed to get around her and just took the shot. I think we all saw the clock counting down and didn’t want to go to overtime, so we took the chances we could get and went for it.”
It certainly didn’t look like Hawely’s heroics were going to be needed after the Bengals (2-0) scored two goals in the opening five minutes. Shelton opened the scoring in the 3rd minute by making a move to her left and letting one go from the top of the penalty box that sailed over Eagles keeper Morgan Tucker and dipped under the bar for a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later, Rogers was given space and, in nearly identical fashion, beat Tucker over the top to double the lead.
“We knew that No. 5 (Rogers) and No. 12 (Shelton) were going to cause us some problems tonight and our defensive pressure was kind of slack in those first few minutes,” G.W.-Danville coach Cary Wright said.
But the early deficit didn’t cripple the Eagles, in fact for the next 25 minutes, they dictated the tempo.
“It was just a mental thing, because we executed our game plan really well and obviously got two goals from that,” Beaton said. “Then I think the girls thought it got a little easy and let off a little bit. They got hit on the counter attack by some fast players.”
One of the speedsters was Khadijah Wilson who all of a sudden made it a match in a two minute span midway through the first half. Wilson first flicked one over Bassett keeper Alvalous Barbour to herself and finished the move with a header. Then she got behind the Bengals defense with her speed in the 20th minute and buried one past Barbour on a breakaway attempt.
“We knew (Wilson) was fast so we just wanted to drop off a little bit and give her some depth. We played a little flat in the beginning,” Beaton said.
Shelton was then moved into the midfield to help control possession and shut down the counter attack. The move paid off, but also took away some of Bassett’s offensive pressure.
“We wanted to attack their defense a lot and that was our game plan to start,” said Rogers, who added an insurance goal in the 79th minute. “But our middle was flat, and we had to drop Nicole (Shelton) back a little bit, so we didn’t have as many up front to attack their defense.”
G.W.-Danville had an excellent chance to take the lead in the second half when Addie Leigh Milam was left alone for a clear shot from just outside the six-yard box in the 57th minute, but drilled her shot right at Barbour who made the save without a rebound. It was the only other threat the Eagles had in the game.
“We had our chances to put this thing away,” Wright said. “The last six or seven minutes we had our two central defenders go out injured and had to patch those gaps with some players off the bench. We made a bad pass to one of their players which ended up in a goal and then we had to sacrifice our back over the last couple of minutes to get it back.”
Bassett led in shots 10-8 and in corners 5-1.