The Myers Park girls’ basketball team had been perfect all year, going 29-0 entering Friday night, averaging a 29-point margin of victory as the No. 1 team in the state and the Observer Sweet 16.
But all of that came to a crashing halt, as Southeast Guilford outscored the Mustangs 18-9 in the final quarter to pull off the 48-45 upset in 4A West Sectional finals.
The loss ends another remarkable run for Myers Park, who have gone 60-2 over the past two seasons, with their only loss last year coming in the 4A state championship game.
“Give (Southeast Guilford) a lot of credit, they played a great game, and had four seniors that didn’t want it to end,” Myers Park girls’ basketball coach Barbara Nelson said. “But we missed a lot of easy shots. We got to the rim, but just couldn’t finish. We said all year if we could just make all of our layups, we would average 100 points per game. We knew it could come back to bite us and it did (tonight).”
The Mustangs actually led for the first three and a half quarters of the game, with their biggest lead at 36-23 midway through the third quarter. Sophomores Aliyah Mazyck (15 points) and Rydeiah Rogers (14 points, 11 rebounds) were having their way at that point.
But the Falcons (23-6) didn’t give in or give up, going on a 7-0 run to close the third quarter and 10-1 run to open the final period to take their first lead at 38-37 with just over five minutes left.
Southeast Guilford senior Kenya Hailey sparked the rally hitting back-to-back three-pointers to start the fourth quarter to get her team within one point.
Then, fellow Falcon senior, Leslie Britt hit two free throws to give her team their first lead at 38-37.
After Myers Park tied it at 42 on two free throws with 1:17 left, the Falcons closed out the game making six of their final eight free throws to pull off the win. Southeast Guilford’s Hailey, Kayla Upshaw, and Kayla Phifer all making key foul shots in the final minute to preserve the lead and win.
“We knew this was going to be a tough place to play and win and it was,” Southeast Guilford coach Shawyn Newton said. “But the game of basketball is just five on five on the court. It comes down to heart and who wants it the most. In the end, I felt like we wanted a little bit more.”