The Lady Indians standout took over down the stretch, finishing the deal with a pair of free throws with four seconds left to give Dobyns-Bennett a 61-60 win over Greeneville on Saturday at Hal Henard Gym.
Whitson finished with 28 points. She has 2,218 for her career and needs 15 to break the all-time school record.
Whitson repeatedly created space for post-entry passes in the fourth quarter. She made five buckets in the period, three of which gave D-B (20-5) a tie or a lead late.
“Her determination is something I’ve not coached in many kids before,” said D-B coach Bill Francis.
With 11 seconds remaining in the game, Ashlyn White made a strong move to the basket and scored on a driving layup to put the Lady Greene Devils out front by one point.
Francis stayed with his standard decision to not call time out, and D-B raced up the court with the ball. Whitson got the ball on the wing with one thing on her mind.
“I knew after they made that shot, Coach Francis said he trusts us and he wasn’t going to call time out,” Whitson said. “I was just going to attack the rim, and either get the free throws or make the shot.”
Whitson drew the blocking call and went to the line. She swished the first one, and then had to sit through Greeneville’s icing timeout.
“If I was their coach, I would do that, too,” Whitson said with a laugh. “Because it’s tough. It’s very tough. When my nerves calmed down, it was like, God got me. In that situation it’s really scary.”
Ta-Tionna White, who scored 10 points, and her teammates helped D-B hold its own while Whitson sat the first four minutes of the third quarter because of foul trouble.
The rest of the efforts were spread out in a nice display of teamwork. Included in the mix was Bethany Welty, who hit a nice floater in the lane late in the fourth quarter and followed up a minute or so later with a blocked shot on the defensive end.
STEP TOWARD POSTSEASON
Francis said he liked the game in preparation for the postseason.
“There are three things you have to do late in the season to be a good postseason team,” he said. “You gotta win a close one, you gotta win one from behind, and you gotta win an ugly one. I feel like we got two out of three tonight.”
FILLERS ON FIRE
D-B looked like it might get run out of the gym early after Leah Fillers cut loose for 16 first-quarter points, including four 3-pointers. However, the Tribe limited her the rest of the game and she finished with 22 points.
Brylee Jones had 15 points and White finished with nine.