The Fair Park Lady Indians solidified their spot in the upcoming Class 4A state playoffs on Tuesday night with a dramatic 51-49 win over Woodlawn in a neutral-site contest to determine second and third place in District 1-4A.
Meanwhile, the Lady Knights position in the postseason is much more precarious after a night when their perimeter play was lacking.
“We might have needed that half a point we’d have received from winning,” Woodlawn coach Patrick Lindsey said. “We’ll have to wait and see on the LHSAA.”
Playing with just five players in the contest, Fair Park (18-10, 7-4) had a little more firepower, strength inside and ball control than their opponents on this night. Ty’Ronica Foster and Savannah Thomas tossed in 14 points apiece to lead the Lady Indians, who entered the contest as 4A’s 26th seeded team.
“This was a very important contest for us because it should help our seeding,” Fair Park coach Cherise Sims said. “Woodlawn beat us pretty good the last time we played them, so I was glad we showed a lot of heart and courage tonight.”
Huntington (17-10, 9-1) clinched the district title last week and will be the league’s highest seeded team entering the playoffs, which begin Monday.
Known for it’s magic at the end of contests, the Lady Knights (11-13, 6-5) hung within striking distance throughout the contest in the BTW gym, but couldn’t hit the big shot when they needed it. Woodlawn, the only district team to beat Huntington this season, connected on just three of its 12 from behind the arc. The Lady Knights fell behind by 10 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter and seemed to be running on fumes.
“We’re an outside shooting team — and when they aren’t falling, it’s tough for us to win,” Lindsey said.
Fair Park was still in front 46-37 with about 4 minutes remaining when the Lady Knights began chipping away, thanks to its pressure defense that created six fourth-quarter turnovers. A three-point play by Amber Cook, who led all scorers with 17 points, started a Woodlawn run that pulled her team within 51-47 with under a minute remaining.
The Lady Knights had the ball with an opportunity to do more damage with about 20 seconds left, but Fair Park’s Dominque Johnson intercepted a pass to seal the win.
Foster was glad to know her team is solidly in the playoffs.
“We just went out there to play ball. We did what we had to do,” Foster said. “We took it home. We just have to listen to our coach now.”
Whether or not his team gets a chance to play another day, Lindsey has few regrets about the season.
“We feel like this was a teaching season for us, because we will have everyone back,” Lindsey said. “If we get in, we’ll have to go to Warren Easton (28-0) or St. Michael (28-4). We’ll consider that a learning experience also. Hopefully, the girls will get a chance to see what it takes to be in the upper echelon of girls basketball.”