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Lady Pirates plunder Marengo playoff run

DIXON’S MILLS — Marengo’s run at a third straight South Regional appearance ended abruptly Thursday with a 46-42 loss to Fruitdale.

The Lady Panthers (16-3) led until the closing minutes in the sub-regional round when Fruitdale got a bucket with 5:38 to play, knotting the game at 40. The shot erased the remains of what had been a six-point Marengo lead in the fourth quarter.

Following the Lady Pirate bucket, Marengo called a timeout to regroup. The Lady Panthers emerged from the huddle with a slowed pace, running 1:14 off the clock before taking a shot. As so many of Marengo’s fourth quarter attempts did, the shot missed.

Fruitdale connected on a shot with 3:03 to go up 42-40, officially grabbing its first lead of the game. At the 2:14 mark, the Lady Pirates made it 44-40.

After a pair of Marengo misses, Shakayla Bouler got the rebound and forced her way onto the right block, where she buried a layup to cut the deficit to 44-42 with 1:29 to go.

The final blow to a winded Marengo team came with 29 seconds to go when Fruitdale picked off an MHS pass and converted the miscue into points.

The shot capped a 14-6 fourth quarter run for Fruitdale, which had not one any of the first three frames in the contest.

Marengo opened the night on a 10-0 run before Fruitdale got on the scoreboard for the first time with 2:48 to go in the first quarter. The Lady Pirates then embarked on a 9-2 run to close out the opening stanza.

The game appeared destined to change with 4:41 left on the second quarter clock. Tallamachia Dumas took the ball on the baseline and forced herself onto the right block before being called for a charge. The contact left Dumas on the floor in pain. She was helped to the bench with her team clinging to a narrow lead.

Fruitdale erased its early deficit entirely at the 3:03 mark in the second quarter, evening the game at 20.

Dumas reentered the game at the 2:37 mark as Bouler knocked down the back end of a two-shot foul opportunity to put Marengo up 21-20. Dumas ended the half on a personal 3-0 run to leave her team up 24-20 at the break.

But the Lady Panthers’ 2010-2011 all-state performer scarcely returned to form in the second half as she continued to favor her ailing leg throughout the game’s final two quarters.

Her injury coupled with poor shooting by an exhausted MHS team left Marengo in dire straits as it utilized very little of its bench the entire night.

Dumas scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished three assists, stole three balls and blocked four shots in the final game of her high school career.

Bouler finished with 13 points and five rebounds while Alesia Bowser had 13 points and 11 rebounds. That trio accounted for all but two of the Lady Panther points.

Beneather Manuel led Fruitdale with 16 points. Tasha Boykin and Stacey Forward each added nine points for the Lady Pirates.

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