WILMINGTON – For the first time in school history, the Bethel-Tate Lady Tigers are sectional champions.
The team travelled to Wilmington High School Saturday afternoon to take on the Badin Lady Rams in the finals, holding on for a 50-46 victory.
Early on, it appeared as though the game would be much less competative. The Lady Tigers got four points apiece from Allison Parks and Allyssa Demaris to jump ahead 18-13 at the end of the first quarter.
Julia Jenike provided the offense in the second stanza, scoring five of her team’s 12 points. Her scoring output allowed Bethel-Tate to take a 30-20 lead at halftime.
The Lady Tigers led by as much as 12 points at one point, but Badin kept chipping away at the lead. At the end of the third quarter, the Lady Rams trailed 39-31.
With just over three minutes left in the game, that deficit dropped to seven points and by the two-minute mark, Bethel-Tate led by just four points.
The final minute of the game was intense. Bethel-Tate turned the ball over, allowing Badin to score and pull within two points. The Lady Tigers answered with a pair of free-throws, but Badin scored again and trailed 48-46 with 30.9 seconds remaining in the game.
After Parks hit a pair of free-throws to increase the lead to four points with 3.5 seconds left, Badin had one last shot. However, for some reason the Lady Rams never attempted a three-pointer and their two-point attempts didn’t fall, allowing the Lady Tigers to escape with the victory and the sectional title.
Parks led the way for the Lady Tigers with 15 points while Jenike added 12. Haylee Foster totaled nine while Demaris and Morgan Reinhart chipped in eight and six, respectively.
Bethel-Tate head coach Dave Fallis said the team knew what to expect against Badin and they played well.
“We had them scouted really well,” Fallis said. “We were getting turnovers, playing with confidence and hitting shots. We attacked the rim and that made all the difference.”
Fallis also noted the team has had a bit of a roller-coaster season, but the squad has came into it’s own of late.
“We started the season 7-0, we had some injuries and we were an up-and-down team,” Fallis said. “We’ve won our last six games. We’re playing unified, we’re playing in our system, and we’re just really getting after it.”
Fallis said the team expected to reach the sectional final and given how practice unfolded this past week the result was not surprising.
“I knew we’d make it to this game,” Fallis said. “After our two practices the last couple days, we knew this was going to be our moment. They stepped up and executed and I couldn’t be more proud of these girls.”
The Lady Tigers now move on to the district finals against Miami Trace next Saturday in Springfield at 3 p.m. Fallis said the team is going to take some time off before they begin preparation for their next contest.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us but we have a week to prepare,” Fallis said. “We’re going to take two days and completely rest and have no basketball and we’ll get back after it Monday or Tuesday.”