The Lady Warriors remember playing McEachern in the region championship two years ago and losing a tight decision. They were determined not to let that happen again, and their 53-52 win in Saturday’s Region 4AAAAAA championship game came down to Amber Reeves converting a free throw with just over 4 seconds left to play.
North Cobb (24-3) left with the first region title of its long history and the chance to host Coffee County, the No. 4 seed of Region 1AAAAAA on Tuesday.
Reeves, who went on to finish with 26 points, appeared nervous when she missed her first free throw with McEachern’s crowd yelling at full volume, but she said afterward that she was calm. It certainly looked that way when she swished that second free throw to give North Cobb its lead.
“I was trying to shoot it as if there was no one in the gym,” Reeves said. “I was like, ‘dang,’ (after I missed the first one,) but that’s why they give you two shots. You got to make the next one.”
North Cobb likely won’t want to be remembered for its 3-point shooting. It was just 10 percent (2-for-20), but Kyrie’ Chandler’s 3 from the left corner with 1:41 left gave it a 50-47 lead.
That was the shot that gave the Lady Warriors a lift even though there was still a lot of time left.
KlinTisha Martin finished off a Te’a Cooper miss on the next possession to cut the lead to one. Reeves then hit a free throw, and Briah Woods came up with the stop at the other end before hitting a free throw to give North Cobb another three-point lead.
Triana Tisdale then erased that lead with less than 10 seconds left with her only 3-pointer of the game, and the game could have easily gone to overtime had their not been a miscommunication by McEachern (14-11).
DeClara Daniels ended up fouling Reeves when she thought she was instructed to. McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur said not to.
“There was a miscommunication after we scored,” Arthur said. “They misunderstood because they were excited. But we were still in the game and I am proud of their effort. It doesn’t make the loss better but I am proud of their effort.”
Woods finished with 11 points for North Cobb. Sierra Barrino had eight, while Chandler had seven.
Cooper played with four fouls in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 13 points. Daniels finished with 11 points and Martin had 10.
McEachern will host Region 1AAAAAA runner-up Colquitt County in the first round.