Tayana Wilson continues to be quite the sophomore sensation for Rich Central.
The 5-foot-3 point guard, who only a week earlier hit a shot at the overtime buzzer to beat Bloom, was again a late-game hero as the host Olympians scored a 44-39 Southland Athletic Conference victory over Rich South.
Wilson took a pass from teammate Vivian Imarenezor with 5.8 seconds remaining and the two teams tied at 39-all, and rattled in a five-foot roll shot while being fouled by Rich South’s Dasia Evans.
Wilson added the free throw, and then intercepted a home run inbounds pass by Rich South. She was fouled, and hit two more free throws to lock it up.
“I just went over her basically,” Wilson said of her clutch field goal. “I don’t know how I do it. It’s very exciting. I just work hard for my team and do it for everybody on the team who depends on me.”
Wilson finished with 24 points and six rebounds, Cassandra Burress eight points and 13 rebounds, and Imarenezor eight points as Rich Central improved to 7-3, 2-0.
Rich South (4-3, 1-1) was led by Tierra Webb (14 points, 7 rebounds) and Evans (10 points, 7 rebounds).
Wilson is averaging 19 points per game for the Olympians, who a year ago won just five games.
“As soon as she came in as a freshman I knew she was just what we were looking for because we needed a point guard,” Burress said. “We also needed somebody that could execute.”
Burress executed with excellence when Wilson missed on a shot with 8.3 seconds showing, grabbing her 13th and most important rebound. The Olympians quickly called timeout, and set up what would be the game-winning play.
“Our team is kind of short,” the 5-foot-7 Burress said with a smile. “It depends on me and Ariel (Robinson) to get the rebounds.”
Rich Central was up five late in the second period when Tierney Lockett triggered what would be a big momentum change for Rich South by hitting a buzzer-beating three-pointer.
The Stars then started the second half with a flourish, as Webb hit a running jumper, Sierra Elllis a lean-in shot and Webb a trey to put them up 26-21. It was 32-27 Rich South after three quarters.
Wilson picked the Olympians up early in the fourth period by driving for a three-point play. Two possessions later, Imarenezor drained a three to put them back on top 33-32. Central stayed precariously in front until 2:37 remained, when Webb sank a short jumper to knot the score at 39.
South, with a chance to take the lead, turned the ball over with 1:16 remaining. The Star didn’t see the ball again until Wilson weaved her magic.