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Rockdale girls nip Salem in overtime

In a battle of post players, Breanna Richardson of Rockdale was just a little better than Salem’s Jennifer Tindi. Richardson had 28 points, including the go-ahead points in overtime as Rockdale outlasted its county rival, 62-60 in non-region play.

Rockdale won its fifth consecutive game and improved to 5-2 overall, while Salem dropped to 3-5.

The game was tied at 57-57 when Richardson converted a lay up with 1:33 left. Before Richardson hit the free throw to make it 60-57, the Mississippi State signee received a technical foul. At the other end, Salem’s Nikkira Brown converted 1-of-2 free throws to make it a two-point game. With a chance to tie, the Seminoles missed three shots up close, two from Tindi (20 points and 15 rebounds) and in the same situation on its next possession, Brown’s shot was blocked by Sydney Fields.

The hosts took the lead twice at the beginning of overtime on a bucket by Richardson and Fields’ put back. Brown, a Palm Beach Atlantic University signee, got to the rim and calmly knocked down 4-of-4 free throws to get Salem even at 57-57 with two minutes to play.

In the third, Salem led 34-28 on Taylor King’s field goal with 2:38 left. Rockdale responded with a 15-4, quarter-ending run to go up 43-38. In the fourth, no team led by more than five points and trailing 53-51 after Tindi’s put back, Richardson had a steal and hit two free throws to knot things up at 53-53.

Both teams had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but a turnover on both ends of the court sent the game to overtime.

King had a huge second quarter to help Salem turn a six-point deficit into a five-point halftime cushion.

King, a junior who was held scoreless in the first 12 minutes of the game, made up for it with a flourish in the final four minutes of the first half. With Rockdale up 20-14, King nailed a three-pointer and after Jennifer Tindi got two of her six first-half points on a fast break bucket, King hit three consecutive field goals to cap an 11-0 run and send the Seminoles into the locker room up 25-20.

After a sluggish start in which the teams played in the early stages of the second with just three combined field goals, Rockdale went up by as many as eight points. Mississippi State signee Breanna Richardson had a field goal, then an offensive rebound that led to a pair of free throws as the Bulldogs’ 10-0 run made it a 13-5 game. But Richardson got into foul trouble, and when she exited midway through the second, Salem fought back and grabbed the halftime lead.