Keith Lady Bears one win away from state championshipPublished 8:30pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013
BIRMINGHAM — With their tough defense and full-court pressure holding their opponent to 16 percent shooting from the field, the Keith Lady Bears defeated the Lynn Lady Bears 40-27 Tuesday in Birmingham, and now find themselves just one win away from being crowned state champions.
Cecil Williams, head girls basketball coach of Keith (31-3), said the game plan of doubling Lynn forward Jackee Dodd and applying full-court pressure early helped lead Keith to victory.
“I take my hat off to the Lynn Lady Bears. They came in prepared, but my girls were real focused, and we stuck to the game plan … and it proved to be the right thing, and we came out successful,” Williams said. “Our press helped us out very well. They only had one ball handler, and most of the other girls ran away from it, so when we hit them with the press it kind of took them out of the game. It kind of helped us to an advantage to where we got a couple of quick scores and got up, then we could come back and get out of the press to rest our legs.”
Keith raced out to an early 9-2 lead, as forwards Zykia Pettway and Lyteisha Phillips each scored in the paint, Harriet Winchester added a pair of free throws and Stephanie Carson hit a 3-pointer.
Dodd scored on a jumper to bring Lynn (31-2) closer at 9-4 with 51 seconds left in the first, but Phillips hit a short jumper to send Keith into the second quarter leading 11-4.
Lynn opened a low-scoring second with back-to-back baskets by Dodd and Emma Easley, but Keith held them scoreless the rest of the half, with Carson hitting another three and mid-range shot, and Winchester scoring on a jumper to make the score 18-8 at the break.
Lynn only scored four points in the third, all by Dodd, and Winchester scored all seven points in the quarter for Keith to go into the fourth quarter leading 24-12.
Keith opened the four quarter on a 6-0 scoring run, as Shatavia Moore scored in the paint, Winchester scored on a fast-break layup, and Pettway hit a short jumper to extend the lead to 28-14 with 4:57 left to play.
In the bonus with 3:42 left, Keith hit seven free throws down the stretch to help secure the win and advance to the Class 1A state final.
Winchester led Keith with 14 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks.
Carson had 10 points and six boards for Keith.
Dodd was the only player for Lynn who scored in double figures, as she had 13 points and nine rebounds on the night.
Carson, who’s buzzer-beating jumper in last week’s regional final sent Keith to Birmingham, said it’s an exciting feeling to be one win away from the ultimate prize.
“It means everything,” Carson said. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Keith will take on Brantley (24-6) on Friday at 1 p.m. in the BJCC Arena for the Class 1A state championship.