BY ED WRIGHT
Jan. 30, 2010, 1:30 a.m.
Plymouth Christian Academy's girls basketball team lived by the motto that was printed on their pre-game warm-ups Friday night: PLAY HARD OR GO HOME.
The Eagles battled valiantly for every rebound and hit the floor for loose balls at a frequent pace during their homecoming match-up against Southfield Christian.
But it was the visiting Eagles who went home with a thrill-a-minute 48-45 overtime victory Friday night in a game played before a jam-packed crowd in the PCA gym.
Both teams were led by Miss Inside/Miss Outside combinations. PCA's duo was sophomore post player Kristin Malcolm, who compiled a week's worth of stats (20 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and six blocked shots); and point guard Brianna Harris, who was brilliant all night, scoring nine points to go along with 13 boards and three steals.
Southfield Christian's terrific twosome were forward Shayla Moore, who tallied 21 points and eight rebounds; and dynamite point guard Aneisha Bussey, who netted 21 points and nine boards.
The two well-coached squads proved to be mirror images of each other for all 32 minutes of regulation and four minutes of overtime.
They both favored an up-tempo pace and went after every rebound like it was the last piece of pizza in the box.
The result was a 21-19 PCA lead at the half, 29-27 PCA advantage after three quarters and 41-all score when regulation ended.
Southfield seized a 41-39 lead with 1:11 remaining in regulation on a pair of clutch Bussey free throws, but the hosts countered 16 seconds later when Karen Windle threaded a pass to Malcolm, who finished at the rim.
After PCA misfired on the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity with 10.5 ticks left, Bussey missed a leaner with 2.1 seconds left in the fourth.
The overtime was as exciting as the final 20 minutes of Avatar -- minus the violence and rough language.
SC's Moore and PCA's Malcolm traded baskets during the first minute of the extra session, leaving the scored deadlocked at 43-all.
SC then took the lead for good with 2:08 to play on a driving layup by Moore.
Following a series of turnovers, Bussey canned one free throw with 44.7 seconds left to put her team up 46-43.
Harris then delivered her biggest basket of the game with 36 seconds remaining when she penetrated through the heart of the Eagles' defense for a layup, cutting PCA's deficit to 46-45.
However, Bussey displayed her senior leadership when she calmly swished two free throws with 12.1 second left to extend her team's lead to 48-45.
After the host Eagles missed a long triple, they got another shot when SC committed a turnover. However, with 1.8 seconds left, PCA missed a two-point shot and the buzzer sounded.
SC improved to 6-5 while PCA slipped to 4-8.