McKENZIE – The pressure to stay undefeated through the regular season and into the postseason seems to increase as time goes on.
West Carroll entered the District 13-A championship game with a perfect 28-0 record.
But the undefeated season came to an end on Saturday night as Dresden won 39-34 at Bethel University to claim the district title.
“We didn’t feel like the underdog,” Dresden coach Jonathan West said. “Going from last year, we expected to win this district. We have fought through adversity this season, and we expected to come in and win tonight. And that is not taking anything away from West Carroll.”
Dresden (21-9) advances to host the Union City-Bradford loser on Thursday in a Region 7-A quarterfinal. West Carroll (28-1) will host the winner of Union City-Bradford on Thursday.
After a defensive-heavy first half, Dresden’s Jacqueline Ellis came out with the hot hand in the third quarter.
Ellis hit three straight 3-point tries to give the Lady Lions the 23-17 lead with 5:40 remaining in the third.
“I was making shots in the third quarter,” Ellis said. “Our team was driving and kicking the ball out to me.”
The third quarter continued to belong to Ellis as she scored two more baskets to finish with 13 of her game-high 21 points in the third quarter.
“We don’t win this game without her,” West said. “We have had players step up in games, but she has stepped up all tournament.”
Her final basket of the third quarter put Dresden up by 11 points (28-17), but a lay-up by West Carroll’s Emani Melton cut the lead back down to single digits entering the fourth.
The Lady War Eagles made a run at the lead in the fourth quarter as Deidra Clark, Madison Heckert and Melton scored on consecutive possessions to cut Dresden’s lead to two points (31-29), but baskets by Hailey Browning and Carrie Hatchel kept the lead in Dresden’s hands.
“Our game plan was to protect the paint,” West said. “We didn’t think that they could shoot on us, so we wanted to keep them out of the paint at all costs.”
Melton scored a team-high 11 points, Clark added 10 points and Heckert had 10 rebounds to go along with six points.
“Our team has practiced so hard to get to this point,” Ellis said. “We wanted to win the district, and we came up and did it.”
The Lady Bulldogs (18-10) picked up third place in District 13-A with a win over Huntingdon.
Gleason won each of the first two quarters to take a 30-23 halftime lead, and held it through the second half.
Jayden Green led the Lady Bulldogs with 18 points, while Lillian Nichols added 10.
Huntingdon (14-13) was led by Allyn Swenson with 12 points.
Gleason advances to play the Gibson County-Greenfield loser on Thursday, and Huntingdon will play the Gibson County-Greenfield winner.
Michael Odom, 425-9754