EMORY — It’s not wise to count out Sherman’s girls basketball team when there is still plenty of time on the clock.

EMORY — It’s not wise to count out Sherman’s girls basketball team when there is still plenty of time on the clock.


Down by as much as 10 points with less than six minutes left in regulation, the Lady Bearcats rallied, overcame a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force overtime, then pitched a shutout in the extra period as they prevailed, 62-53, over Longview Pine Tree on Monday night in the bi-district round of the Class 4A Region II playoffs at Rains High School.


"We found ourselves, and came out and played as a team," said senior Sa’Liesha Hunter, who finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and eight steals. "We did what we had to do and came back."


The other big gun in Sherman’s arsenal, senior Jayzhia Softly, also had a big night with 22 points, 14 of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime.


Like everyone else in the gym, Sherman head coach Beth Tallant had to ride out the full gamut of emotions.


"’Roller-coaster ride’ is the perfect definition of that game," Tallant said. "I’ve told the girls all season the team that maintains its composure throughout the game is the team that comes out on top. At the point where we maintained our composure was there in the end. We had highs and we had lows, but we stayed on top in the end."


Sherman (17-11) awaits the winner of tonight’s game between Tyler John Tyler and Mansfield Lake Ridge in the area round later this week. Those two teams will square off this evening in Fairfield.


As expected, the Lady Cats were outrebounded by a significant margin, 52-31, but more than made up for it by forcing 39 Lady Pirate turnovers while committing just 10.


Pine Tree junior Sky-Lynn Holmes, who finished with 24 points and 23 rebounds, was almost too much for the Lady Cats to overcome, but not quite. The 6-foot-2 post was dominant inside, and also stepped outside to hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the left wing that forced overtime.


"She’s really good," Tallant said of Holmes. "She’s a heck of an athlete all-around, on the offensive and defensive end. She’s got nice length and height which I wish we had, but it’s OK. We have a lot of heart.""


Tallant praised 5-foot-5 senior Brandy Higgs for playing Holmes as tough as possible under the circumstances. Higgs finally fouled out in overtime, but Holmes also drew her fifth foul seconds later.


"Brandy did her part, and I knew she would," Tallant said. "She caused deflections and forced turnovers, and did exactly what I expected her to do."


Despite Holmes’ game-tying long ball, the extra frame belonged completely to Sherman, which outscored Pine Tree 9-0.


After a missed Lady Pirate basket, Softly drove for a layup, then after another pair of stops, the Lady Cats pulled the ball out and ran some clock. Hunter made two free throws with 1:36 left, and from that point on Sherman hit 5-of-8 from the charity stripe.


"It was a more important game, but it was just like any other game when we’re down," Hunter said. "We’ve just gotta dig deep and play as a team and come back."


Confusion reigned with 1:19 left when Pine Tree’s Holmes was awarded a shooting foul, but was allowed just one, which she missed. Hunter rebounded and was fouled, but as Hunter stood at the line, the officials huddled and gave Holmes her second foul shot. As it turned out, Holmes also missed the back end and Hunter seconds later got her chance to shoot free throws, making one of two.


Pine Tree (18-13) trailed by a point at the half and by three midway through the third period, but ended the quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 37-31 advantage.


Hunter opened the fourth with a 12-foot jumper to end the drought, but Holmes scored the next six points to put the Lady Pirates on top, 43-33, with about six minutes to go.


That’s when Hunter and Softly both caught fire simultaneously to save the Lady Cats from an early playoff exit.


Hunter hit a 3-pointer from the left wing, then Softly converted a Hunter steal into a layup. Pine Tree inched back out by eight, but a 7-2 run keyed by three Softly buckets made it a 48-45 game with 3:01 to go. Finally, J’Lyn Wash made two free throws and Softly one, and with 2:08 to go, it was a brand-new game at 48.


"We started playing as a team and actually ran our offenses and pressed on them," Softly said. "That’s what we didn’t do. We came out lazy at the beginning, and finally we played how we needed to play."


Hunter hit a 3 from the top of the key with less than 30 seconds left and after a Pine Tree backcourt turnover, the Lady Cats had a chance to ice it. But Hunter missed the front end of a one-and-one with 12.29 ticks left, and Holmes hit the 3 on the other end to extend the game.


"That’s being over-enthusiastic toward the end of the game," Tallant said. "We needed to match up and play smart defense and know where (Holmes) is, obviously. But you live and learn. We learned something tonight, and we’ll apply it toward the next round of the playoffs."