Berry Academy's finest basketball hour finally arrived.
The Cardinals advanced to the N.C. 3A girls' regional for the first time in school history with a 47-33 win against Concord Robinson.
Getting to this point and earning a trip to the Greensboro regional has been Berry's (25-3) mission since its untimely loss in last year's 2A sectional.
"It feels great. I knew we could do it," said Cardinals forward Alicia Quinn, who scored eight of her 14 points in the pivotal third quarter. "We fell short last year, fell short the year before that, but it feels so good to get off Alleghany" Street, where Berry's campus is located.
Quinn, a Gardner-Webb signee, did her share in the pivotal third quarter, helping the Cardinals outscore Robinson 20-12 over that eight-minute stretch to turn a five-point halftime lead into a 41-28 gap.
Berry's frontcourt of Quinn, sister Milan Quinn and Jessica Marcus combined for 16 Cardinals' points during that period to dash any hopes Robinson (23-7) had of climbing into contention. Marcus matched Alicia Quinn with 14 points to give the Cardinals a potent 1-2 punch in the paint.
"They played a terrific game and I thought they really crashed the board and played aggressive," Berry coach Robert Hollis said. "I thought they did a very good job of finishing around the basket."
Berry was quick to make use of its size advantage, especially in transition with the Quinns and Marcus beating Robinson (23-7) defenders to the basket. Point guard Essence Baucom, an Alabama-Birmingham signee who scored eight points, fed them a steady stream of entry passes that turned into easy baskets.
"(Hollis) always tells us we're an inside-out team, so we really get going when we work the high-low," Alicia Quinn said. "Then it opens up shots on the outside and ...once we start sharing the ball with each other, it opens it up for the guards on the outside."
Berry's size paid dividends on the defensive end as well, closing access to the paint and pushing Robinson to perimeter jump shots. The Cardinals also used their speed to force 19 turnovers that resulted in 13 points.
"Tonight, it obviously altered a lot of our shots, and I'd be surprised if we hit 20 percent of our shots," Bulldogs coach Lin Smithson said. "That alters your shot, those long arms."
Isabel Bernal led Robinson with 10 points, while Kelsi Mahoney added nine for the Bulldogs.