Lady Bulldogs’ season ends in regional semifinals

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By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

Getting to the Northeast Regional Tournament is always a goal of every high school basketball team around – including Gaston’s girls.

For the first time since 2012, the Bulldogs achieved that goal – but a 49-35 loss to Fyffe Thursday (Feb. 12) in the Class 2A semifinals cut short any further goals.

“It was good to be back,” said Gaston coach Tonya Bogle. “We are so young that it was very important to make it this far. We’ve been focusing on getting here so that our younger girls could get some court time. This is the first time they’ve been here, except sitting in the stands. Until you’ve been on that court, there’s no way to even describe it.”

Bogle said she hopes this year’s experience will carry over to next year and beyond, now that the younger players have tasted the experience.

“We’re awfully young,” the coach said. “Maybe they will remember this feeling and play hard enough to get back.”

Thursday’s game stayed close throughout the first half. The Bulldogs (7-18) were still within one point at the 1:53 mark of the second quarter when Amber Harris connected on one-of-two free throws to make the score 17-16. The half ended with the Red Devils leading 24-20.

“We left everything on the court,” said Kentara Blackwell. “I am proud of our effort and we never quit.”

The third quarter saw Fyffe (14-13) extend its lead into double digits, with the quarter ending at 37-23.

Bogle blamed the poor third quarter on fatigue, saying her team was exhausted at halftime because of the low number of players. Only seven Gaston players got significant playing time, compared to 11 for Fyffe.

It was offensive woes that doomed the Bulldogs, who connected on only 11-of-43 (25 percent) from the field. They were 0-for-3 on 3-point tries and only 13-of-24 (54 percent) on free throws.

“That (offense) has been our problem all season,” Bogle said. “We’ve got some girls who can score, but again we struggled all year. We played good defense and got some steals. We caused some pressure but didn’t finish the drives. Our defense has been great all year, but if you can’t score, it’s tough.”

Gaston had eight steals and caused 15 turnovers. Fyffe had seven steals and caused 21 turnovers.

Blackwell led the Bulldogs with 11 points and six rebounds. Yosmen Foster had nine points and Abbie Elrod added seven. 

Elrod had seven rebounds, followed by Blackwell, Kaylee Woodall and Jessica Thorton with six each. 

For Fyffe, Logan Bradley led with 12 points and Cierra Posey netted 10.

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