Campbell whittled a 13-point deficit to three late in the game.
YOUNGSTOWN — The East High girls basketball did everything they could to beat themselves Monday night but held off a furious fourth quarter rally by Campbell to turn back the Red Devils, 52-42.
The Panthers (5-4) scored the final seven points on free throws after Campbell had erased a 13-point fourth quarter deficit to pull to within three points with only 2:10 remaining in the contest.
East coach Taniesha Franklin was extremely animated following the contest after watching her team blow a big lead and nearly self-destruct.
“Unbelievable,” Franklin said. “You can quote me on that. How do you almost blow a 13-point lead?
“Not to discredit Campbell because they played one heck of a game but we have to learn to finish teams off that we are capable of finishing off.
“We let them back in the game and we almost blew it.”
The Panthers and Devils struggled through a sloppily played game that featured 55 turnovers and 41 fouls.
The foul shots didn’t work out for either team as East connected on only 15 of 32 while Campbell knocked down just 19 of 38.
“Free throws killed us,” Franklin said. “We were 15 of 32. That’s 17 points that could be added to the score. Do the math.
“We played poorly but luckily we were able to walk out of here with a win.”
Despite the sloppy play, East slowly built a lead near the end of the third period after owning a 26-19 halftime lead.
The Panthers looked like they had a win in hand when Alex Hines hit her third 3-point shot of the night at the third quarter buzzer to give East a 39-26 lead.
Hines led the Panthers in scoring with 13 points.
But Campbell (4-2) wasn’t quite ready to board its snow-covered bus and made a couple of runs at East in the final eight minutes.
Led by Tashira Uceta, who had a game-high 22 points, Campbell slowly ate into the East lead by forcing 13 fourth quarter turnovers.
East was hampered by foul trouble and lost one of its better ball handlers and scorers in Brianna Dawson with four minutes left and that hurt the Panthers ability to hold onto the basketball.
Dawson scored 10 points, had 12 rebounds, five steals and four assists before fouling out.
Down by 10 points, Campbell went on a 10-3 run and cut the lead to 45-42 on two free throws by Uccia with 2:10 left in the game.
East regrouped and made 7 of 10 free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
“We made a couple runs at them,” said Campbell coach Mike Szenborn. “Both teams were in foul trouble but we are not real deep and we lost of couple of starters at the end that hurt us.
“I’m proud of this team. We did our best to fight back and we had some opportunities but couldn’t cash in.”
East also got offensive production from Reshayla Taylor who had eight points and 10 rebounds while Chelsea Bennett added nine points.
“We haven’t handled pressure well all year,” Franklin said. “We do well with it in practice but when it comes time in a game, we fold.
“We were lucky to get out of here with a win.”