Windsor nips Lady Chiefs in finals

Monday, March 3, 2014
The Lady Chiefs regained the lead on junior Lexi Smith's jumper from the elbow midway through the third quarter. (Chris Allen/Democrat-News)

CENTERVIEW -- It seemed all along that the team which had the ball last was going to win the Class 2, District 14 Tournament girls' basketball championship Friday at Centerview.

It wasn't a made shot, though, but instead a steal by junior Shelby Williams which preserved a 44-42 decision for top-seeded Windsor over No. 2 Santa Fe. That capped a fourth quarter which saw three tie scores and three lead changes.

"I thought both teams played really hard," remarked Lady Chiefs head coach Jeremy Hobbs. "Both teams made runs that stopped the other team build momentum."

Both Santa Fe, in its first district final since 2007, and the defending champion Lady Greyhounds showed jitters early, combining for five turnovers and six missed shots on the first 10 possessions.

Williams' put-back gave Windsor an early 7-2 lead, but the Lady Chiefs -- who didn't score in the first four minutes -- went on a 15-2 run to open up an eight-point lead which proved to be their largest of the game.

Junior Bailey Rollins got the Lady 'Hounds even with three three-pointers in less than two minutes, although junior Katey Peters' bomb sent Santa Fe into the break with a 22-21 edge.

"We lost Rollins and gave her open looks," Hobbs said. "Two of them I felt we just didn't do a good job closing out."

The second half began nearly as slowly, but not as raggedly, as the first one. The Lady Chiefs' held slims leads behind three goals from senior Brooke Barnett, including two long jumpers.

"Brooke stepped up and played very confident, knocked down some big shots," Hobbs noted. "She's been playing inside a lot for us, but it was really good to see her step out and hit those."

They were needed, since the 6-foot Williams was able to twice post up down low. She and 6-0 senior Breanna Bowers both connected to put Windsor in front, 38-35, early in the final frame before junior Lexi Smith and Barnett drove for Lady Chief buckets.

Another Barnett bomb produced a 42-all tie with 1:45 to go and Santa Fe began fouling during the last minute. Williams hit one of two free throws, but the Lady Chiefs couldn't score on the other end. Junior Haley Crouch missed the front end of a one-and-one, but again Santa Fe came up empty.

Rollins was sent to the stripe, but only made her first shot. However, junior Rylee Moore grabbed the offensive board and was fouled.

"You hate to see that offensive rebound given up," Hobbs admitted. "We did a good job of fouling the right people and milking the clock."

Moore clanked her freebie and junior Kourtney Chiddix collected the carom for the Lady Chiefs, who called their last timeout with 2.2 seconds remaining. Windsor went into a full-court man-to-man press and the inbounds pass was swiped by Williams.

Rollins had 15 points and Williams provided 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Lady 'Hounds (20-6), who meet Skyline of Urbana in the sectional playoff Wednesday at Clinton.

Barnett led all scorers with 18 points and sophomore Kylie Limback helped Santa Fe to a 35-28 advantage on the glass with 15 boards. The Lady Chiefs (17-10) closed out their best season since going 18-8 in '07.

"A lot of people say they're athletic, but they're born with that," Hobbs explained. "It's the work ethic and attitudes that are really a pleasure to coach. They're a great group."

Contact Chris Allen at callen@marshallnews.com

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