The Santa Fe Saints led by as many as 14 in the second half against Palm Beach Saturday afternoon, but a late charge by the Panthers forced a game winning layup in the closing seconds by Kayla Lovett to help secure the Saints third victory in a row. Santa Fe is undefeated at home this year at 5-0.
SF (8-6) were slow to get going and trailed by 10 on two occasions in the first half, the second time down 28-18 with six minutes to go. From there they went on a 12-2 run and knotted the score up at 30-30 on a layup by Sonya Franklin.
In the second half, the Saints started the period on a 19-6 run, scoring those 9 points in just over five minutes to take a 49-36 lead. They led by 14 with under 10 minutes to play, but PB rallied with some timely three point shooting to close the gap all the way to 66-64 with under a minute to play. On the ensuing SF possession, the Panthers stole it and went the distance, scoring the basket and the foul. They made the free throw to take their first lead since the opening half, 67-66.
Kayla Lovett took the inbounds pass with 31 seconds left and went all the way to the hoop, hitting an off balance layup to give the Saints back the lead 68-67.
Palm Beach had two open looks from inside of 10 feet on their final possession but couldn’t convert on either. Ashley Perry made one of two free throws with 3.2 seconds left and on the miss, Deja McPhee hustled for the rebound to seal the victory.
Lovett and Perry led SF with 12 points each and Perry pitched in four steals. Sonya Franklin finished with 11 points, and Tatiana Manuel had five points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks.
The Saints will be off until the New Year when they host Red River College on Friday, January 2 in Gainesville at 6:00 PM.