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Dunn deal: Freshman's jumper caps Lady Devils' stunning rally vs. Falcons

By JOHNNY WILSON, Sports Correspondent • Feb 1, 2020 at 2:25 AM

GATE CITY — Apparently there ain’t no mountain high enough to intimidate the Gate City girls basketball team.

Down to once-beaten Abingdon by eight points with less than 40 seconds to play, Gate City turned in a miraculous comeback Friday night and nabbed a stunning 69-67 Mountain 7 District overtime win against the first-place Lady Falcons.

Kelly Houseright has been the head coach at Gate City for a long time, but the veteran found it hard to believe what she had witnessed on her home floor.

“It was just like I drew it up,” Houseright quipped. “I’m just kind of still in shock a little bit.”

The Lady Blue Devils, down 67-66 when they inbounded under their own goal with 4.2 seconds on the clock, won it when 5-foot-5 Kayli Dunn swished a 20-foot jumper at the OT buzzer.

“I looked for Sarah (Thompson) first ... she’s our No. 1 look,” the giddy 15-year-old Dunn said. “But it wasn’t open, so I just took the shot.

“I looked up (at the clock) before I caught the basketball and I had to make my decision then.”

Dunn’s game-winner was the second buzzer-beater to save Gate City’s day.

Earlier, freshman Lexi Ervin had drained a 3-pointer at the horn to erase Abingdon’s 62-59 advantage and force the extra period.

“We had some freshmen step up tonight,” Houseright said. “We had a lot of different kids step up.”

Indeed.

Gate City had trailed 62-54 before Sam Jerrell scored on a driving layup and fellow senior Kendal Quillen nailed a 3-point jumper, making it a three-point game with 12 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Lady Falcons (17-2, 8-1) missed both ends of a two-shot foul with 10.5 seconds left to play, opening the door for the Lady Blue Devils (10-8, 6-3).

“I guess the good Lord took care of us tonight,” said Houseright, whose club lost a double-overtime game at Abingdon earlier this season.

Although the game was close throughout, the Lady Falcons had seemingly gained command by building a 50-39 edge with 5:19 left in regulation.

The Lady Blue Devils used great balance to chip away.

Ervin finished with 13 points, Thompson totaled 12 and Jerrell added 10.

“This was a great team win,” Houseright said.

Abingdon wasted a 32- point game from sensational senior guard Peyton Carter.

GATE CITY BOYS ROLL ON

The Blue Devils dominated the second half, pulling away to an 84-48 Mountain 7 victory over Abingdon to move closer to another regular-season district championship.

Gate City (13-4, 9-0) is up two games in the loss column with three to play, including an outing next Friday at second- place Wise Central, which has two Mountain 7 defeats.

Scott Vermillion’s Blue Devils have now gone more than five years since their last league loss, which came against Lebanon on Jan. 24, 2015.

All 12 of Gate City’s players found the score column against Abingdon (9-8, 5-4), and each one scored at least three points. Six-foot-4 Andrew Hensley hit three 3-pointers and knocked in 20 points to lead all scorers. Bradley Dean backed his fellow senior with 18 points.

Gate City made eight 3s, two apiece by Eli Starnes and Jacob Taylor.

The Falcons, who were outscored 48-25 after halftime, got a team-high 12 points from Jake Thacker.

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