By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (December 3, 2016) — Mackenzie Hailey and Kylie Collins used to play AAU ball together.
On Saturday, they saved Tarleton State.
Hailey scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead Tarleton (3-4, 2-0) back from a 17-point deficit and into overtime, where Collins took over with six points including the game-winning 3 in a 90-89 Lone Star Conference track meet against Cameron (2-6, 0-2).
The TexAnns visit Western New Mexico and Eastern New Mexico next Thursday and Saturday.
Hailey collected season highs with 23 points and 13 rebounds, senior Travanti Downes came off the bench to pour in a career best 21 points and Collins, just a freshman, netted a season-best 14.
The TexAnns trailed 70-53 late in the third quarter and 70-56 before outscoring Cameron 25-11 in the fourth. Most of the damage came from Hailey underneath or at the free throw line. She scored two from the stripe and Tiara Tatum added a runner moments later to give the TexAnns four points off a technical foul against Cameron coach Emma Andrews, cutting the deficit to 79-74 with 2:35 left in regulation.
Collins delivered a nifty no-look bounce pass to set up a soft baseline jumper by Downes that cut it to 79-76 with 2:04 remaining. The teams traded stops before Hailey scored inside with a foul, then added the free throw to tie the game at 79-79 with 1:21 left.
The TexAnns’ only lead of regulation came when Hailey banked one in off an assist from, who else, Collins. That made it 81-79 with 33 seconds remaining.
“We played AAU together so we’ve worked together a long time,” said Collins, from Mansfield, of Hailey, a sophomore from Burleson and Division I transfer from UT-Arlington. “We know each other’s game and work well together.”
Jamie Bonnarens tied it with an offensive rebound and put back for Cameron with 19 ticks left on the clock.
Tarleton went inside to Hailey again at the end. She was knocked to the floor while attempting a game winner, with no call.
Collins buried a 3 for an 86-82 Tarleton lead with 3:38 left in overtime, but Cameron tied it up at 87-87 on a tip-in by Bonnarens, then grabbed a 89-97 lead on a breakaway layup by Charron Montgomery, one of three Cameron players to score 20 points.
But Collins wasn’t done. In fact, she saved her best play for last.
The freshman guard found her happy spot in the left wing and was open just long enough to let one fly, swishing the net for a 3 and a 90-89 leave with 74 seconds left.
“I just had good looks and my teammates found me in the right spot,” said Collins following the win. “I knew my team needed me to make those.”
Cameron missed a layup that was rebounded by Downes, but Bailey Wipff missed at the other end and Bonnarens grabbed the board to give the Aggies a chance.
Montgomery drove for a contested layup that wouldn’t go, and Downes grabbed the biggest rebound of the game, her seventh. She also had three assists and two steals.
Downes was fouled and couldn’t get a free throw to go. It didn’t matter, as Caitlin Clancy’s heave at the buzzer fell short by 10 feet.
Bonnarens and Natalie Halbleib joined Montgomery in scoring 20 for Cameron. Each had double-doubles as Halbleib grabbed 14 boards before fouling out in overtime, and Bonnarens collected 10 rebounds. Savanna James scored 13 for the Aggies.
Tarleton had five players in double figurers, as Tatum and Ikpeaku Iwobi each added 11. Iwobi also had six boards.
Cameron built its big lead with tempo, especially in the first half when the Aggies attempted 23 points in the first quarter and scored 48 by intermission.