Glencoe girls hold off Sardis for 51-46 win


Glencoe’s Jessica Rathje scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Yellow Jackets past Sardis on Saturday night. (Photo by Dave Hyatt | Gadsden Times | File)


GLENCOE — Coming off a big loss against Oxford, Glencoe post player Jessica Rathje had a message for her team.

“Jessica pulled the team together and called a meeting, basically, to rally the girls and say, ‘Hey, coach needs us,’” Glencoe coach Yvette Sparks said. “Then she pulled me aside to say, ‘We’ve got your back and are ready to play.’”

Rathje and her teammates backed up the talk.

Rathje scored 19 points to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 51-46 win over Sardis on Saturday night in the Glencoe Holiday Classic.

The win got rid of the bad memory that was a 60-37 loss to Oxford on Friday. Sparks said when the team needed a leader, Rathje filled the role.

“Tonight, she showed leadership, which is something that we’ve been lacking ... to have somebody actually step up,” Sparks said.

She scored nine points in the final 4:45 when Sardis (6-9) stepped up its pressure and made a run.

Rathje’s second layup of the quarter gave the Yellow Jackets (8-6) a 44-30 lead with 3:57 left, but the Lions slowly chipped away at the deficit. Two 3-pointers by Kacee Mashburn, who had 18 points, and pair of free throws from Allie Jones pulled the Lions within 10 before a layup by Rathje and two free throws by Sally Tinker made the score 50-38. Sardis ended the game on an 8-1 run, highlighted by two three-point plays by Mashburn and Macy Bridges.

But Glencoe’s lead was just too much to overcome for the Lions.

“They really dug in deep,” Sparks said of Sardis, who went to high-pressure full-court defense to force a few turnovers. Glencoe also was dealing with foul trouble. “The pace of the game change and we adjusted to it, and I think we did a good job of stopping them, but at the same time they were calling fouls a little bit tighter,” she added

The Yellow Jackets never trailed, leading 11-9 at the end of the first quarter and taking a 26-19 lead into halftime.

They went cold in the third quarter, though. After a bucket by Rathje at the 6:05 mark gave Glencoe a 32-19 lead, the Yellow Jackets didn’t score again the rest of the frame and didn’t make another field goal until Jensen Napper banked in a 3-pointer with 6:48 remaining in the game.

Sardis couldn’t take advantage of Glencoe’s drought, scoring seven points during that stretch.

Glencoe got 11 points and seven rebounds from Kaileigh Billingsley, while Sally Tinker added eight points, three rebounds and three steals.

For Sardis, Selena Tarvin had eight points and Jones added seven points.

Both teams finish the tournament Monday night, with Glencoe playing Pleasant Valley and Sardis taking on Oxford.