The Haywood Lady Tomcats were able to fight off a late run by Liberty to win their first district title in over 30 years 60-54 on Saturday night at Oman Arena.
The Lady Crusaders, who fought from behind all night, made a run at Haywood late in the fourth quarter to pull to within two points at 56-54 when Liberty’s leading scorer Teja Pearson scored a basket with 1:28 left. Pearson finished with 22 points.
Haywood’s defense tightened up and did not allow the Lady Crusaders to score again for the final minute-and-a-half of the game. They added four points in the last 45 seconds to clinch the District 15-AA title.
The Lady Tomcats were led all night by the play of Jamirah Shutes, who had 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Time and time again Shutes either shot over the Lady Crusader defense or drove into the lane for an easy basket. Liberty used just about everyone on the roster to guard Shutes with little success.
Liberty had the opportunity to take a lead or at least shorten the deficit in the second, but poor shooting from the free throw line, 4-of-12 in the quarter, prevented the Lady Crusaders from drawing closer to Haywood. For the game Liberty shot 11-of-24 from the charity stripe.
Haywood got a strong performance from Madison Smith in the post as she had 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Smith forced Lady Crusaders to alter their shots and miss when she was not blocking their shots.
The Liberty Lady Crusaders gave a valiant effort all night but they could not make the key basket or get a stop on defense when they really needed it most.
To go with her 22 points Pearson also pulled down nine rebounds for Liberty. Kierra Linton contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds to the Lady Crusaders’ effort after a slow start.
North Side 32
Covington’s Treasuary Poindexter scored 23 points to lead the Lady Chargers to a win over North Side in the consolation game.
Covington jumped out to a 20-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and never let the Lady Indians cut into the lead the rest of the game.
North Side was led by guard Jada Perkins with 17 points.