RALEIGH Bandys High girls basketball team did a good job for three quarters in Saturday’s N.C. 2A state championship game Saturday, handling high pressure defense from a faster and more athletic team from High Point Andrews.
Unfortunately, in the fourth quarter, Bandys didn’t handle it as well. With championship MVP Imani Watkins of Andrews scoring 15 of her game-high 27 in the final eight minutes, Andrews rallied to beat Bandys 57-51.
The Trojans, who were in the finals for the first time since 1994, lost in the championship round for the first time in school history. Bandys is now 6-1, all-time, in the championship round.
“We told the girls that there’s only one team that can win the state championship in 2A,” Bandys coach Kyle Moretz said. “That game could’ve gone either way. We play them again, we probably could’ve beaten them,”
Bandys (31-1) led nearly the entire game. The Trojans were up 12 in the first half, up 10 early in the third quarter and up seven to start the fourth. But despite shooting nearly 70 percent in the third quarter, Bandys’ four-point halftime lead only grew to seven. That was due to Bandys beginning to struggle against Andrews’ pressure. That trend continued in the fourth
And in the final quarter, Williams took over for Andrews (25-5). She scored 13 of her team’s first 16 points in the quarter. Andrews shot 14-for-49 in the first three quarters, but was 5-for-10 in the fourth when it outscored Bandys 20-7.
“In the fourth quarter,” Williams said, “I knew this was my last game, my last eight minutes, and I wasn’t going to lose in my last eight minutes.”
Said Bandys’ Moretz: “They came out in the fourth quarter firing on all cylinders. Watkins got hot and she hit almost everything she threw up.”
Andrews 10 11 16 20 -- 57
Bandys 14 11 19 7 -- 51
ANDREWS 57 -- Brie Grier 10, Farabee 9, Imani Watkins 27, Campbell 7, Taylor 4
BANDYS 51 -- Hendershott 2, Lackey 8, Antaijah Easter 14, Sara Goble 17, Story 5, Bibey 5