Redemptorist junior Chelsea Singleton wasn’t certain she would even play in Tuesday’s District 6-2A showdown against visiting East Feliciana.
Not only did Singleton play, she literally kept the Wolves’ title hopes alive.
Singleton, battling a case of tonsillitis, scored 14 of her game-high 27 points in the final six minutes, including two free throws with no time left in a 58-57 victory.
By virtue of its second one-point win over East Feliciana, Redemptorist (20-7, 8-2) forged a tie for the district’s lead along with the Tigers (14-8, 8-2) with two games remaining.
Reagan Williams scored 13 for the Wolves, and Meagan Williams added 12. Cameron Johnson led EFHS with 15, while Trinity Jackson had 13.
Singleton’s status was uncertain until 40 minutes before tip-off, when she got the green light from her grandmother to play. Wilson tried monitoring Singleton’s minutes, giving periodic breaks to catch her breath and consume Pedialyte and Powerade to avoid dehydration.
With Redemptorist staring at a 48-38 deficit with six minutes left, Singleton led the Wolves back from the brink.
Part of her heroic effort included banking in a pair 3-pointers from the right wing before Singleton later made three free throws after being fouled behind the 3-point arc.
That left Redemptorist with a 57-56 deficit with 9 seconds to go when the Wolves sent Kourtlin Bradford to the free-throw line for a one-and-one with 4 seconds to go.
After a Redemptorist timeout, Bradford missed the front end, which Singleton rebounded, took straight up the court for a desperation heave just inside midcourt, where she was fouled as the buzzer sounded.
“Down the stretch, with no time left on the clock, to make that call to win or lose a game . … You don’t do that,” East Feliciana coach Donald Alsandor said. “You let the kids decide. It was a great ballgame until the clock ran out.”
Singleton calmly stepped to the free-throw line and dropped in her first two attempts, capping a furious fourth quarter where Redemptorist outscored 6 minutes.
Singleton made 8 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter, when the Wolves made 48 percent (23 of 47) of their free throws in the game.
“I wasn’t really nervous,” Singleton said. “I was thinking this was a district championship game and hoped I made them. It was just like it was at practice with no one at the line with me.”
East Feliciana, which shot 34 percent and had 25 turnovers, took its first lead since the opening minute on Brekaylia Gipson’s basket with less than four minutes to play in the third quarter. The Tigers extended their lead to 48-38 on a layup by Makayla Barton.
“It’s been a constant of me telling them someone has to step up,” Redemptorist coach Valencia Wilson said. “When we didn’t know what was going to be her (Singleton) situation tonight, I kept stressing we have to step up and play.”