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Dancin’ in Cordele

The Crisp County girls basketball team, which was swept by Westover in the regular season, celebrates wildly as coach Molly Speir, back, looks on Friday night at the Boston Garden after rallying to beat the Lady Patriots, 46-41, for the Lady Cougars’ first Region 1-AAA title in nine years — while also denying Westover the crown for the second straight season after it lost to Dougherty last year. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

The Crisp County girls basketball team, which was swept by Westover in the regular season, celebrates wildly as coach Molly Speir, back, looks on Friday night at the Boston Garden after rallying to beat the Lady Patriots, 46-41, for the Lady Cougars’ first Region 1-AAA title in nine years — while also denying Westover the crown for the second straight season after it lost to Dougherty last year. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

ALBANY — Stunned.

Again.

For the second straight year, Crisp County shocked Westover in the postseason — and this time it was for a Region 1-AAA championship Friday night in the Boston Garden.

Herald Super 6er and Westover star senior DyTiesha Dunson said the 46-41 loss felt like something “piercing” her heart.

Westover coach Lewis Smith, whose Herald No. 1 Lady Patriots lost to Crisp in the quarterfinals of last year’s state tournament, was also perplexed.

“Yes, I really felt like we were …” Smith said, trailing off when asked if the loss shocked him. “We played Crisp twice in the regular season, and the last time we played them we (beat) them convincingly.”

There was nothing shocking about the outcome for the Lady Cougars, who won their first region title since 2003 and will enter state on a six-game winning streak.

“We showed Westover that they thought they could beat every single team in our region, but we showed up and won a region championship,” said Keidra Green, who scored 10 points for the Lady Cougars. “We never doubted what we could do.”

The Lady Patriots entered the championship game with a 25-1 record and as the favorites to win the region after losing last year’s title game to Dougherty.

Crisp (17-10) entered with nothing to lose, so when the final seconds ticked off the clock, Crisp senior Adrianna Dennard could hardly contain her excitement.

“I couldn’t believe it was happening,” said Dennard, who started running in circles in celebration seconds after the game ended. “With about five seconds on the clock, my heart started beating fast. I couldn’t think of anything, but ‘We won region!’ and ‘We beat Westover in their gym!’ ”

And they shut down Dunson — something no team in Southwest Georgia had been successful at yet this season. Dunson, who missed her first nine shots and was held scoreless in the first half, finished with a season-low three points and was 1-for-18 from the field.

They say defense wins championships. That was never truer Friday night.

“We played a matchup zone, so wherever (Dunson) went, they had to pick her up,” Crisp coach Molly Speir said.

Even with Dunson off her game, the No. 1-seeded Lady Patriots led for the first three quarters and were up by as many as six with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.

“When we got up (six) in the third period I was feeling kind of good about it,” Smith said. “But Dunson has carried us in scoring, so when she doesn’t score we look flat. We live and die with Dunson, and she didn’t quite get it going (Friday night).”

Crisp, the No. 3 seed, finally took a 38-37 lead with 2:34 left when Kayla Green, who led the Lady Cougars with 20 points, knocked down one of her seven fourth-quarter free throws.

Westover never regained the lead. Dunson missed a free throw that would have given Westover a 39-38 lead, a jumper that would have tied the game at 40-40 and another jumper that would have pulled the Lady Patriots to within 42-40.

“It hurts,” Dunson said. “It’s like Déjà vu all over again from last year. (The loss) feels like something piercing through your heart. You work so hard for something this season. We had a great record of 25-1 coming into the region championship, but we will rebound from this.”

Herald Super 6er Ieshia Young led Westover with 15 points, while Au’Bre’Ana Moore added 10.

The Green sisters combined for 30 points, while Lady Cougars post players Nasheema Oliver and Dennard had eight and six points, respectively.

Dennard was one of the first to start celebrating on the court, and she was the first to dump Gatorade on her coach in the locker room after the game.

“I poured it everywhere,” she said. “On her neck, her back, her forehead, everywhere.”

Speir didn’t seem to mind.

“We knew that we could beat them,” Speir said. “We kept telling them that we had a great team but we just needed to stay in it mentally. And that’s what we did. They stayed in the game and fought through adversity.”

Comments

NUMBER1FAN 2 years, 2 months ago

Congrats to the Lady Pats you all played a good, hard game........Keep your heads up stay together as a team and Look to the Hills from Whence Come your Help!!! No where to go nut UP!! State Here we come!

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ash03 2 years, 2 months ago

once again..there's this thing called a "team" something westover doesn't know. They lost in the elite 8 because of selfish playing and just lost the region for the same reason. I know I'll hear how Dunson is the best...carried the team...got them this far...blahblahblah...read the article! Nobody cares how good your record is throughout the season, what matters is the end result. They have an awful big bench who never get given a chance and 2 people who whould rather take a chance and lose to be the "superstars", than win by someone else making the headline. Well they just took a region championship away from alot of other seniors on the team. And guess what someone else made the headline. Way to go Crisp, you dethroned "lady D"

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NUMBER1FAN 2 years, 2 months ago

Let's not start pointing fingers......a lost doesn't diminish what Lady D has meant to the Girls Basketball Program at Westover. It sounds like you expect for her not to be proud of her personal accomplishments, because people like you are haters and are only happy for yourself not others. Lets be clear because of her accomplishments on the court and in the classroom she makes everyone around her better. Even with this loss this team of girls have already made history, they have the best record in Westover school history right now. Lets be clear there are girls on the bench at every high school in town that don't get in......that is a coach's call not a players. It is so funny how every person in town want the children in sports to win except our children at Westover. We need to stop being like crabs in a basket and try to show some in city support I sat at that game last nite and saw some terrible Reffing it seemed like they wanted both schools from Dougherty County to not win, but in town people are celebrating about Westover losing but people are pissed about Monroe Boys losing.......that is Mind Blowing. But I will say this WIN OR LOSE WESTOVER GIRLS HAVE THE BEST RECORD IN TOWN SO GET OVER IT!and a run for state here we come.....WHAT RUN ARE YOU MAKING? Except running your envious mouth about somebody else and trying to bing them down. To: DyTiesha you must be doing something right in the eyes of God, because the devil only tries to use people to try to hurt you and destroy your name and slander your character when you are on the path to GREATNESS!!!! Pray for this person who made these comments about, because they need a Revelation .......What God has for YOU is for YOU and can't nobody stop YOUR BLESSING BUT YOU! And Because God Blesses You that has ABSOLUTLY NOTHING to do with what blessings he has for the next person. So whomever you are stop worrying yourself with what God has Blessed someone else with and ask God to Help YOU to understand what GREATNESS he has planned for YOUR life and to help YOU fulfill YOUR purpose in life THROUGH HIM! YOU ARE WASTING TOO MUCH ENERGYBWORRYING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!

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dominiquedamac 2 years, 2 months ago

Get over yourself! Everybody has an opinion and they are not going to agree with you every time. Nobody is hating on Dunson.

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ash03 2 years, 2 months ago

like I said...nobody cares about records when it's all over with, its championships..and like always blame it on the refs...no, this one is blamed on selfishness, everone will have a bad shooting nite but you have to know when to be big enough to let someone else step up, 1 for 18 means let someone else take a chance ESPECIALLY in the last few minutes that results in a loss. like I said blahblahblah

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NUMBER1FAN 2 years, 2 months ago

REALLY?? NOT Hating.....What do YOU SUGGEST "Way to go Crisp, you dethroned Lady D". MEANS????

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ash03 2 years, 2 months ago

Dunson, who missed her first nine shots and was held scoreless in the first half, finished with a season-low three points and was 1-for-18 from the field.Westover never regained the lead. Dunson missed a free throw that would have given Westover a 39-38 lead, a jumper that would have tied the game at 40-40 and another jumper that would have pulled the Lady Patriots to within 42-40. Sounds D-throned to me!

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The_Dude 2 years, 1 month ago

You're an idiot if you're suggesting DD is selfish. She could average 30 a game but she passes more than anybody around here and her coach has asked her to take more shots. That's a fact.

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