Antioch’s strong group of seniors pulled together and helped the Lady Bears make their first Class AAA girls basketball tournament since 2007.
Antioch won at Beech 55-50 on Saturday, using speed and a smothering defense to keep Beech on its heels.
“Our biggest asset is our speed,” Antioch coach Mary Beth White said. “These kids just wanted it, and I can’t say enough about my four seniors. They didn’t want this to be the last game.”
Senior guard Jenise Davis finished with 23 points, and junior point guard D’Toria Fowler had 13.
Early in the first quarter, Davis made her presence known as she finished a layup in traffic, got a foul and converted on the three-point play. She finished the first quarter with nine points.
Senior center Shelby Brown led Beech with 14 points, and junior guard Falon Baker finished with 13.
“We shoot well at home, but most of our shots didn’t fall,” Beech coach Kari Maddox said. “We knew that if we were patient enough, we ball faked, and we got the ball in the middle, we’d be great.”
Antioch’s defense, though, would ultimately prevail as they consistently forced turnovers in critical situations that led to fast break scores.
“Their traps are unbelievable, and (Antioch) does a great job of getting after it,” Maddox said. “We just didn’t have that fire that we usually do.”
With just under four minutes left and Antioch leading 43-33, Beech had an opportunity get within single digits, but junior forward McKenna Taylor missed a wide-open fast-break layup following a steal by Baker.
The Antioch lead would eventually shrink to five points, but Beech was unable to get any closer.