|Briarcrest's Samantha McColgan (back) tries to steal the ball from Girls Preparatory School's Chadarryl during the Division II Class AA girls' semifinals at Allen Arena at Lipscomb University in Nashville.|
The Briarcrest girls basketball team got caught up in a numbers game today at the BlueCross Division 2-AA semifinals. And the totals just didn’t add up.
Chattanooga Girls Preparatory school opened the second half on a 12-0 run to break open a close game and used a big advantage at the free-throw line to defeat the Lady Saints, 65-51.
The loss ends Briarcrest’s season with a 26-4 record. GPS, which will take on Nashville Ensworth in Saturday’s championship game, improves to 24-4.
“We didn’t guard the baseline like we needed to,” Saints coach Lee Smith said. “But the thing that jumps out at me is free throws. I don’t understand how a team that plays man-to-man and is trapping the whole game shoots 33 free throws and we shoot only nine.”
It was a telling stat; GPS made 21 from the line; Briarcrest made just seven. That 14-point margin was exactly what the Bruisers won by.
“I understand we were (behind) in the last minute and had to foul,” Smith said. “They are a very, very good team. But if you give me 33 attempts, I’ll beat you.”
Another number that hurt Briarcrest was GPS’ No. 5, Miss Basketball finalist Chadarryl Clay. The 5-8 Auburn signee scored 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
The Saints trailed just 26-24 after the first half, then watched the Bruisers take control with their game-defining spurt. Smith called two timeouts in an effort to get things back on track, but to no avail.
It was a frustrating finish for Saints senior Lauren Douglas, who was saddled with foul trouble for much of the game. The Northwestern signee — like Clay, a Miss Basketball finalist — finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
“I felt like I let my team down,” she said.
The closest Briarcrest got after that was nine, when Emoni Harvey scored inside early in the fourth to make it 50-41.
“I felt like we could have come back,” said senior Dakota Doss, who had a fine game for the Saints with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and 10 rebounds.
It was a fine curtain call for Doss, who had to sit out after transferring from Houston High and then missed Briarcrest’s state tournament run last year with a torn ACL.
“I just thank God for getting me healthy and back on the court,” she said.