The Lady Eagles always seemed to find a way to overcome some serious offensive struggles during a historic postseason run.
They scored just 86 total points in two wins in the 44th District Tournament and battled past Great Crossing, 49-44, in the opening round of the 11th Region Tournament on Monday night in Berea.
“We kept telling ourselves that this shooting slump we were in, we were eventually going to come out of it,” Madison Southern coach Josh Curtis said. “I feel like the past three of four games, we’ve gotten good looks, but couldn’t get them to fall.”
A similar scenario played out on Wednesday at McBrayer Arena.
Southern (18-7) shot just 21.3 percent from the field, including 4-of-20 from three-point range, and had its season come to an end with a 51-40 loss to Lafayette in the semifinals of the 11th Region Tournament.
Senior Samantha Cornelison had 20 points and eight rebounds, but the Lady Generals out-scored Southern 17-6 in the final 4:47.
Lafayette advances to the championship game to take on Franklin County (15-5).
“We had a bunch of open looks for the right people. We made a few, but we missed a lot more,” Curtis said.
Southern missed 16 of its first 17 field goal attempts against Lafayette, but used a solid defense and good free throw shooting to stay in the game.
The Lady Eagles were 8-of-8 at the free throw line in the first half — and 5-of-26 from the field — and took a 20-18 lead into the break.
Cornelison banked in a three-pointer on Southern’s final possession of the second quarter. The senior had 12 points at halftime.
“She makes big shots,” Curtis said of Cornelison. “She had a bunch of good looks at the end of the game too and they just rimmed out. She played great.”
Cornelison hit another three-pointer in the third quarter and the score was tied heading into the final period (28-28).
The game featured 10 ties and five lead changes.
Lafayette scored the first six points of the fourth, but Southern rallied to tie the game again at 34-34. Reece Estep scored and was fouled, but missed the free throw.
The Lady Generals quickly took back the momentum with a three-pointer by Lauren Walton and back-to-back baskets by Anaya Brown.
“We had a chance to take the lead, but we didn’t make that free throw and they hit a three-pointer and we were playing catch up the rest of the way,” Curtis said.
Southern never got closer than five points in the three minutes. Lafayette was 10-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter, while also out-rebounding the Lady Eagles 10-4.
Estep had seven points and 11 rebounds. Lacie Parks had seven points. Morgan Flannery had four points and three assists and Macie Daniels had two points.
Brown had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Lafayette. Walton had 12 points
The loss brought to an end a special season for the Lady Eagles. Southern won its second district title in the past three years and advanced to the semifinals of the 11th Region Tournament for just the second time in school history (2015).
The Lady Eagles had a chance to become the first team in program history to reach the region championship.
“It’s hard to see it now, but you did a lot of great things that you are going to remember for the rest of your lives,” Curtis said.