Two Darlington players combined to score 50 points and help their team top Cartersville, 67-55, in their quarterfinal game.
The net result is that the Lady Wildcats and Lady Purple Hurricanes will meet at 4 p.m. today to determine the festival’s third-place winner.
Pepperell and Darlington meet in the tournament finals today to determine the festival winner.
Pepperell 58, Woodland 57
Woodland head coach Kyle Morgan said his girls team didn’t get the result they wanted, but he is proud of their play.
Woodland had its chance to move into the tournament finals but missed two free throws with two seconds left in the contest.
The Lady Dragons quickly moved the ball just past center court and launched a 3-point prayer that was answered at the buzzer.
“It was quite an exciting ending to a high school basketball game, but we were unfortunately on the bad end of it,” Morgan said.
The two teams had started slowly, with Pepperell breaking out to a 12-10 lead after a quarter of play.
The Lady Wildcats turned the tables on the Lady Dragons in the second period, outscoring them 18-14 and seizing a 28-26 lead.
The two teams swapped the lead after three quarters as well with Pepperell scoring 17 to 13 points for Woodland, grabbing a 43-41 lead.
Woodland outscored their foes 16-15 in the final period.
The two teams swapped the lead throughout the game.
Morgan said his team just needs to learn from the experience and try to get better.
“When you lose by one point, there are lots and lots of plays you can look back on,” he said. “We just didn’t make enough of them. To Pepperell’s credit they did, and they were fortunate enough to make a last-second shot.
“But our girls competed and I’m proud of their play. Hopefully we can learn and get better and get a little better doing the small things so we can do the small things down the stretch that help you win games like this.”
The loss gives Woodland a 9-4 record overall while Pepperell improved to 11-0.
Darlington 67, Cartersville 55
Cartersville head coach Cindy Moore said her team battled, but could not overcome the play of two senior Lady Tigers who were determined to walk off the court with a victory.
“Hats off to Darlington,” she said. “They had two seniors that led them, scoring 50 of their 67 points. They carried them.
“We battled hard but we got into some foul trouble early and it got us out synch. Then we got down by double digits in the second half, and whenever we had a run, they came up with a big basket or we’d foul someone.”
Cartersville had an early lead, with a 16-14 margin after a quarter of play. In the second quarter, Darlington used a 21-11 run to move out to a 35-27 lead.
In the third quarter, Darlington stretched its lead to 54-38. The Lady Canes outscored Darlington the final frame, 17-13, but it wasn’t enough.
Moore said her team will have to set aside its disappointment if it is to have a chance against Woodland.
“Our biggest challenge will be to mentally bounce back and play at 4 p.m.,” she said. “This wasn’t the game we planned on and playing back to back will be tough.”
Cartersville was led by freshman Kimora McClinic with 12 points and Kaelyn Irby, with 11 points.
Darlington was led by Maggie Beth Atha, with 29 points, and Sara Manning, who dropped in 21 points.
Moore praised the play of the two Darlington seniors but said Cartersville played well, too.
“It’s one of these things where you don’t want to lose a game,” she said. “There’s a difference between losing and getting beat. I feel we got beat tonight. Credit to Darlington for that.
“We were hoping for our senior class to make it to the finals, but we have a chance to go out with a third-place finish. This is a quality field. Their crowd gets you in a tournament mode for later in the season and that’s a good thing.”
Cartersville fell to 6-2 with the loss while Darlington improved to 4-3.