Puckett Leads Lady Vikings Past Jackson In Overtime Thriller

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With former captain Megan Dixon graduated, the Vinton County Lady Vikings needed one of their returning starters to step up to be the team’s leader and main scorer this season.

Michaela Puckett assumed that role and led the Lady Vikings to a thrilling 79-76 overtime win over the Jackson Ironladies.

With the game on the line, twice–once at the end of regulation and again at the end of overtime–new coach Rod Bentley turned to the junior to save the game.

Down three points with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Puckett led the team out of a timeout with a rallying call.

As Vinton County (1-0) were about to leave the huddle, she brought her teammates close and urged them to finish the game with some energy. And on the ensuing possesion Vinton County forced a turnover and Puckett drained a 3-pointer to tie the game and send it into overtime.

In overtime with less than 20 seconds to go in a tie game, junior point guard Sara Owings found a wide-open Puckett, who hit the game-winning triple to give Vinton County their first victory of the season. She finished with 28 points on 10-22 shooting.

While Puckett was virtually unstoppable with the game on the line, their defense was a bit more suspect, as the Lady Vikings struggled to find an answer for Jackson’s Rebecca Green. She scored 15 points in the game and led the Ironladies to a 6-0 lead to start the game.

Jackson flustered Vinton County's offense for much of the first quarter. Sammy Thompson scored the first points for the Lady Vikings after coming off the bench late in that quarter.

The momentum turned for Vinton County once Bentley turned up the defensive pressure, especially on the perimeter. Junior forward Jalen Hale contributed five blocks for the Lady Vikings, including two blocked 3-pointers that directly led to two easy layups. The offensive-defensive frontcourt combination of Puckett and Hale proved to be too much for a shorter Jackson team.

Vinton County will look to improve to 2-0 when they play their first conference game against Nelsonville-York on Monday, Dec. 8.