Season ends too soon
When Drew Central qualified for the Class 3A, Region 4 Tournament as the No. 4 girls’ seed from 3A, District 8, the Lady Pirates knew a chance to play on their home floor at this week’s State Championships was on the horizon. DC also knew it had a big hill to climb.
Last Wednesday afternoon, Drew Central came tantalizingly close to achieving that goal at FBT Redbug Arena in Fordyce—but it was not to be. Despite getting close to scoring more points in the fourth quarter alone as they had in some games this year, the Lady Pirates fell 63-57 to 7-3A winner Fouke. The first-round regional loss put an abrupt halt to the DC girls’ season, giving the Lady Pirates a final record of 11-17.
“My girls played their hearts out,” Drew Central head girls’ basketball coach Michael Goad said, “and at the end of the day, that’s all a coach can ask of his team. We didn’t do ourselves any favors coming in the tourney as a four seed. We executed our game plan and it gave us a chance to win the game.”
Fouke played like a No. 1 conference seed facing the fourth-seeded team from the other 3A, Region 4 league to open the game but allowed a season-high 27 points to the Lady Pirates in the fourth quarter as DC’s furious comeback simply ran out of time.
As was the case for most of 2016-17, Drew Central found itself having to fight out of an early hole. The Lady Pirates trailed 14-7 after eight minutes, by five points at intermission and by double digits entering the fourth quarter, but behind seniors Amaya Partman, Adejah Williams and Courtney Atkins, DC exploded in the final period.
Unfortunately for the Lady Pirates, their coaches and fans, though, it was a case of too little, too late.
“It was an honor to coach these seniors,” Goad nored if his three upperclassmen. “They have dedicated a ton of time and effort to this program the last six years. They went out battling on the court with lots of pride and effort. They represented our program the right way.”
In their final basketball game in Red and White, Partman led Drew Central in scoring with 16 points while Atkins added eight and Williams chipped in with four. Junior Charlayah Ridgell also reached double figures for the Lady Pirates, scoring 12 points.