Special photos/Jon-Michael Sullivan, Augusta Chronicle / Cross Creek's Naomi Wilds (25) is heavily defended by Zaundra Stevens (right) as she attempts a lay up in the second quarter as Woodland defeated Cross Creek 60-55 in the second round of the state playoffs on Friday.
By Wayne Staats
Special to the Daily
AUGUSTA — The long-range shots kept going up, hitting the rim but not going in. With each miss and chase for the ball, more time ticked away.
Realization then shot through: there would be no more baskets and no more wins. Instead, the Cross Creek girls basketball team had to walk off its court to its fans’ applause for a good season and not another victory.
Friday night, the Lady Razorbacks lost for the first time this season, falling to Woodland 60-55 in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
“They better have their heads up. Nobody can take away what they accomplished. Are we disappointed? Yes — they’re crying in there,” Cross Creek coach Kim Schlein said, motioning toward the locker room. “But nobody can steal that thunder.”
Woodland (26-2) earned the win by hanging on just enough to its seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Aalyiah Dotson actually sparked the run to get the cushion when she beat the third-quarter buzzer with a 3-pointer.
In the fourth, Lindsey Reed and her teammates finally got some up-tempo action to get the 48-41 score, with Reed converting a Cross Creek turnover into points. Reed had 18 points in the game. Morgan Jones added 14.
But Cross Creek (28-1), which was down 14-5 and 22-15, tried to extend its unbeaten season with Breanna Bryant knocking the ball loose for a steal and a score before Naomi Wilds hit a 3-pointer. Wilds was a force in one-on-one chances, going inside on turns and weaves. In the second quarter, she even put up six consecutive Lady Razorbacks points.
Now down 52-51 after the Wilds’ 3, Cross Creek did score again, but 3-point shots didn’t fall after that and Woodland did enough at the line. Care’ Bacon was the finisher, making both attempts at the line with 24.7 to go to get the last points of the game.
“I credit my girls for their poise,” Woodland coach Ashley Maddox said. “This win feels amazing.”
Thanks to Bacon’s closing two makes, the Lady Wolfpack made 18 of 21 free throws.
In a close game, Cross Creek’s inefficiency at the line was killer; the Lady Razorbacks put up 26 foul shots but made only 15 in their last game of the season.
“We kept fighting back,” Schlein said. “What can you say as a coach? They gave everything they had.”
Wayne Staats is a staff writer for the Augusta Chronicle.