It’s crowded at the top of the District 1-5A girls basketball standings going into Friday’s final day of the regular season.
The Airline Lady Vikings knocked off district leader Southwood 39-35 Tuesday night at Airline. That enabled the Haughton Lady Bucs, who defeated Parkway 57-31 Tuesday, to move into a tie for first with Southwood.
Haughton and Southwood are 7-2 in district. Airline and Byrd are just one game back at 6-3. The Lady Bucs and Lady Vikings meet Friday night at Airline. Southwood and Byrd face off Friday at Southwood.
The possibility exists of a four-way tie for first. Airline and Haughton, despite having won 18 games each, are still fighting for their playoff lives.
Airline was No. 34 in the Class 5A power rankings released Tuesday and Haughton was No. 38. Only the top 32 make the playoffs, although district champions automatically qualify.
Elsewhere, the Benton Lady Tigers rallied for an 82-74 overtime victory over Minden in a District 1-4A game in Minden.
Bossier couldn’t overcome a slow start and dropped a 72-48 to District 1-3A leader Mansfield at Bossier.
At Airline, Madison Rowland hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with about 1:30 left in the game to give the Lady Vikings’ a 38-35 lead.
Southwood had a couple of chances to cut into the lead or tie but the Lady Cowboys couldn’t convert. After the ball went out of bounds off a Lady Cowboy, Airline ran the clock down until Kei McCoy was fouled with 5.6 seconds left. She made the first free throw to seal the victory.
The game was played at a slow pace. Airline got off to a strong start and led 11-4 early, but Southwood rallied to within two at the half. The Lady Vikings led by three going into the fourth.
Post player Tyra Kidd played well underneath the basket and led the Lady Vikings with 13 points. Rowland added seven points. McCoy and Tia Lowe had six.
Hannah Brewster and Tish Reney contributed to the win with their play inside.
At Minden, Benton rallied from a five-point deficit in the last 1:30 to send the game into overtime tied at 64.
Brandy Harris had a monster game with 37 points, including five in OT, but the Lady Tigers got contributions from several players in the extra period.
Aimee Gentry scored all five of her points in OT. Yakina Manning was four-of-four from the free throw line. LeLe Carper and Lazaria Lloyd also scored.
Harris scored 13 points in Benton’s 27-point fourth quarter. Carper was five-of-six from the free throw line.
Manning finished with 16 points. Senior post player Gabby Jackson was steady throughout and had 15 points.
At Haughton, Ebone’ Green scored 14 points and Cassandra Simmons 13 to lead the Lady Bucs past Parkway. The Lady Panthers’ Chelsea Randle led all scorers with 24.
At Bossier, Brittany Wallace led the Lady Kats with 11 points. Tia Walker added nine and Bree West eight.
Bossier dug itself a deep hole in the first half and then played much better in the second, Coach J.C. Dickey said.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com