Lady Bears fall short, season ends

Published 12:32am Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MONTGOMERY — The Keith Lady Bears entered the final quarter tied, but they could not hold on, as they fell 53-45 to the Holy Spirit Lady Titans Tuesday in the Class 1A Central Regional Tournament at Alabama State University’s Acadome.

Cecil Williams, head coach of the Lady Bears (21-6), said experience and defense turned out to be the deciding factors in game.

“We came out and didn’t play with confidence, started out slow and nervous,” Williams said. “With them (Holy Spirit) being ranked number one the whole year, they kind of had their confidence. Defensively, we didn’t play well—missed assignments, leaving the shooters open after we had actually went over that the whole week. It was just a bad time to have a bad game.”

Keith 8th grader Harriet Winchester goes up for a shot against Holy Spirit Tuesday at the Acadome in Montgomery. Winchester led the Lady Bears with 12 points in the season-ending loss. -- Robert Hudson

The Lady Bears took a 29-27 lead late in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by senior Naadira Pettway, but Holy Spirit’s Tamara Giles scored in the paint with 0:11 left in the quarter to tie the game at 29-29 going into the fourth.

The Lady Titans (30-1, ranked No. 2 in class 1A), opened the final quarter strong, as a basket down low by Kaitlyn Taylor sparked a 7-0 run that put Holy Spirit ahead 36-29 with 6:07 left to play.

Keith’s Lyteisha Phillips hit a pair of free throws to make it 36-31, and Harriet Winchester hit a 3-pointer to put the Lady Bears within reach at 36-34 with 4:47 left to play.

But Taylor took over for the Lady Titans, hitting a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers and a layup that extended Holy Spirit’s lead to double digits at 44-34 with 3:34 left to play.

Keith’s Stephanie Carson hit a 3-pointer of her own to make it 44-37, but it was Taylor again who answered back with a jumper that made it 46-37 with 2:34 left.

Carson came back with a layup to make the score 46-39, but Holy Spirit’s Carolina Sisson countered with a three that pushed the lead back to 10 points.

Taylor hit a pair of free throws and made it 51-39, and Winchester answered with a three with 0:34 left, but time ran out on the Lady Bears.

Winchester led Keith with 12 points, five rebounds and four steals.

Carson and Dasheena Thomas each had 8 points for the Lady Bears, while Phillips added 6 points and seven rebounds for Keith.

Taylor led the Lady Titans with 23 points, while Giles had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Williams said he’s disappointed with the loss, but he’s proud of his team after a season that showed much improvement.

“We had a pretty productive year and learned a lot of things about ourselves—things that we can do, things that we need to improve on,” Williams said. “Overall, I only had one senior, so I have everybody coming back next year. I believe we’ll make it further next year. We’ve got a lot to do to improve and get stronger still in condition because the floor kind of got us, with the length of the floor. Overall, I’m very proud. With us being eliminated in the first round of the area playoffs last year in Akron to this year going the regional with a bunch of 8th, 9th and 10th graders, I’m proud. I hate that we loss, but I’m proud of my girls.”

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