By David Wolman
SULPHUR — Payton Row recalls feeling “a little blurry” with about three minutes remaining during the second quarter of Tuesday’s game.
Sulphur coach Toby Todd got off the bench to attend to his sophomore point guard who was laying down on the court after her neck hit the floor while blocking out for a defensive rebound.
Row got to her feet, walked around and gave her coach the okay to re-enter the game after she sat for about two and a half minutes of real time to shake off any effects of the injury.
“We checked her eyes,” Todd said. “The thing she was telling me it was more her neck. I didn’t really see any symptoms. I sat her out for two and a half minutes. She told me she was fine. She really didn’t show any signs of a concussion.”
Free of any pain, Row didn’t miss a beat. In fact, she appeared to be even more energized.
Row helped to engineer a 9-0 Sulphur run during the final 1:23 of the first half after Plainview had led by three points, leading the Lady Bulldogs to a 80-68 victory over the Lady Indians.
Row did a little bit of everything for Sulphur (10-1). She shot the ball well. She assisted. She rebounded. She dove to the court to battle for possession. She finished with 26 points.
“I thought Payton Row played outstanding,” Todd said. “I thought it was the best game that she has played in the two years that I have been privileged to coach her.”
Kacie West fed off Row’s strong play and quietly scored 26 points of her own.
Todd praised West’s senior leadership postgame.
“A lot of people don’t really understand that about her,” Todd said. “She’s scoring really well right now. Right now, she’s been one of our most consistent people on the offensive end. She keeps playing at a high level.”
Plainview (6-8) appeared it was going to head into the locker room with a lead.
Plainview worked the fast-break well and rebounded with a purpose. Talley Morris’ fast-break layup rallied
Plainview from a 15-8 first-quarter deficit into a 29-27 lead with 2:15 remaining until halftime. Amiya Howard’s free throw 42 seconds later increased the lead to 30-27.
Plainview senior forward Rachel Jacobi ran the fast break well throughout the first half. She scored 10 of her 17 points in the first quarter.
Fellow senior Ally Parham picked it up in the second half, scoring 15 of her 17 points over that span of play, after being held to two points during the first two quarters.
“I thought the girls played really hard all night,” Plainview coach Mike Dooney said. “First half, we were able to get out and run, but I thought (Sulphur) made good adjustments and slowed us down in the second half.”
Row had other ideas.
Row sank a pair of free throws with 1:23 left and followed with a layup in which she dribble penetrated through the left side of the lane for a 31-30 Lady Bulldogs lead.
Senior Savannah Ashford extended the advantage to 34-30 with a 3-pointer.
Row capped off her strong surge with one of the game’s most exciting shots. She was blanketed by two Plainview defenders and the final seconds of the first half running out. She pulled up for a jump shot with one second remaining for a 36-30 halftime lead for the Lady Bulldogs.
“I was just in the moment and I saw the clock running down,” Row said. “I saw Kacie in the corner and thought about giving it to her but I felt a little nervous so I decided to pull up and shoot.”
Sulphur carried that momentum into the second half.
Todd told his Lady Bulldogs to improve on two things after halftime: one, transition defense; and two, rebounding.
Todd was especially pleased with the play of his underclassmen. Freshman Kady Lynch had six points and eight rebounds during the second half.
Sulphur earned its first win over Plainview in four years.
“We came out and we just knew that we wanted to beat Plainview,” West said. “It’s always a big rivalry against them.”
Plainview 16 14 15 23 — 68
Sulphur 20 16 24 20 — 80
Plainview — Rachel Jacobi 17, Ally Parham 17, Amiya Howard 13, Anna Simmons 8, Talley Morris 4, Tory Townley 4, Peyton Jones 3, Kaitlyn Pullen 2.
Sulphur — Payton Row 26, Kacie West 26, Savannah Ashford 8, Paige Lee 7, Kady Lynch 6, Abby Beck 4.
Plainview: 22-33; Sulphur: 23-34
Plainview: 4 (Parham 2, Howard, Townley); Sulphur: 4 (Row 2, Ashford, West)