Independence’s run in the Class AAA girls basketball tournament ended Monday with a 57-49 loss to Antioch in the Region 6-AAA semifinals.
“It’s frustrating because we really wanted to be in substate,” Lady Eagle coach Lee Nachand said after the game. “At the same time, we weren’t supposed to be here anyways. In retrospect, maybe a week from now, we’ll really enjoy this.”
Trailing by as much as points midway through the second quarter, Indy battled back against the No. 1 seed from District 12-AAA to take a 22-21 advantage on a Hannah Winters basket two minutes into the second half.
The lead would be the No. 2 seed Lady Eagles’ only of the night as the Lady Bears retook the advantage moments later and subsequently went on a 12-5 run through the early minutes of the fourth quarter.
Independence fought to get the deficit down to six points on three occasions in the final two minutes, but Antioch’s free throw shooting proved solid enough to preserve their eight-point win.
“We re-gathered our composure, but we started playing a little bit more of their tempo and we can’t play with them like that,” said Nachand. “I think the first half and most of the third quarter we played our way. They’re just talented.”
Junior Jenise Davis led four Antioch players in double figures with 14 points – making 6-of-10 free throws. D’Toria Fowler added13 points for the Lady Bears while seniors Kierra White and Christina Hill chipped in with 11 and 10 points.
Senior Hannah Winters and underclassman Reagan Croff kept Indy’s hope alive in the second half. Winters had a game-high 22 points while Croff added 13 coming off the bench.
“She played well,” Nachand said of Croff. “We have high hopes for her. She’s getting better every year. Another year in the weight room and she’ll be really tough to deal with in this district.”
Independence advanced to the region semifinals with a 48-41 win over Overton Feb. 23.
Trailing the Lady Bobcats 38-3 with 3:26 remaining, Indy held Overton scoreless for a three-minute stretch to take an eight-point advantage in the closing seconds.
Winters had a game-high 18 points in that contest, helped by fellow senior Laina Buche with eight second-half points.
Despite the ending, Independence will look back at the 2012-2013 season with a great sense of accomplishment according to Nachand. Independence won a share of the district title and reached the region tournament for the first time in school history this season.
“The things that we accomplished can’t be taken away,” he said. “They get a banner hung in the gym for the first time in school history. They beat Brentwood for the first time. It’s a lot of things that can’t be taken away.”