“We came out sluggish in the first half and we didn’t score anything,” Childersburg head coach Johnny Johnson said. “We had some good looks but we didn’t finish any shots. The post player for them was the big difference in the ball game. She ended up with 17. We just didn’t get it.”
Mac Kelley scored 14 of her 23 points in fourth quarter to put Childersburg in position to make an amazing come-from-behind victory.
Childersburg trailed 31-21 going into the final quarter.
Kelley opened the quarter with a steal, which she took down the court for layup to make it 31-23. The senior created another turnover, which she took in a layup, while getting hacked. Kelley converted the three-point play to cut the Dadeville advantage to 31-26. Kelley then hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 33-29 with 5:23 left in the game. Kelley split a pair of free throws to cut the lead down to 37-34 with 3:22 left in the game. Tariah Reynolds and Cierra Swain both split a pair of free throws to cut the lead down to 37-36 with 3:10 left in the game.
Kelley gave Childersburg a 38-37 lead on a floater with two minutes left in the game. Rae Williams hit back-to-back shots to put Dadeville ahead 41-38.
Canesha Calhoun cut the lead back down to a point, 41-40 on a pair of free throws with 42 seconds left.
With 19 second left in the game Kelley split a pair of free throws to tie the game up at 41-41.
Williams was able to come through for Dadeville in the clutch.
With 5.1 seconds left in the game Williams stepped to the free throw line for two free throws. Williams missed the first attempt, but connected on the second one to put Dadeville ahead 42-41.
Kelley took the inbound pass, but Dadeville was able to force a turnover to seal the victory and a berth into the Final Four.
“We were out of time outs and I was hoping we could go coast –to- coast and get a shot up or a foul, because we were in the bonus,” Johnson said. “We wanted to get a shot up.”
The Lady Tigers came out slow in the first half against Dadeville.
Reynolds scored four points in the first quarter including a jumper to give Childersburg a 4-2 lead. Calhoun increased Childersburg’s lead to 6-2 with a floater off a Kelley steal. Janeisha Moss hit a 3-pointer at the end of the quarter to tie the game at 6-6.
Childersburg struggled offensively in the second quarter. The Lady Tigers only managed to score five points. Dadeville on the other hand packed the lane with their 2-3 zone defense and used the length of Rae Williams to create easy baskets. Williams blocked two shots in the second quarter, which led to two easy layups for Janeisha Moon to give Dadeville a 12-8 advantage. Destiny Green scored six of her nine first half points in the first half. Green hit back-to-back layups to increase the Dadeville lead to 16-10.
In the first half Childersburg shot 5-31 from the field for 16 percent. Dadeville took a 20-11 lead into halftime.
Kelley led Childersburg with 23 points, 11 rebounds and seven steals. She is one of four seniors that Johnson is going to miss next season.
“Deja Morris played real good for us this year the time she came in,” Johnson said. “She was there last year and she has been playing for three years. I had a new girl come in, Genesis Battle. She didn’t play much, she is raw, but I wish I would have had her one more year. I would have worked with her; she is 6-foot and she would have made a difference with experience. Shacaria Hutchins is a good kid, plays hard when she gets her time in. We are going to miss them. Kelley was a big part of the Childersburg Lady Tigers for six years. It is a big thing that she got here to the regional final. She can talk about that after the six years that she played. It was a great experience for me in my first year to win the area, sub region and be runner-up in the region. It was big for the program.”
Childersburg’s historic season ended with a 21-9 record. The Lady Tigers have several key players returning off this regional runner up team.
“It was a good run,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, everything works out and we’ll be back at it this summer and we will be back. We have some key players coming back. Sophomore Tariah Reynolds had a big year for us. We have the forwards Cierra Swain and Eriel Jones coming back. We have a good chance of coming back next year to make a run and that is what we are going to try to do.”