The first quarter was a back and forth affair. Dodge County’s Marhesha McCloud opened the game with a 3-pointer. Chapel Hill (21-7) then scored the next four baskets, three of which came on turnovers, followed up by easy layups. Earnicia Washington scored back-to-back baskets, followed by shots from Erica Jones and Kaneisha Mixon. The Lady Indians (26-3) fought back to tie the game at 8-8 off another three by McCloud and a basket by Kristen Hall.
Jobonna Collins gave Dodge a 1-point lead from the line with 1:39 on the clock. Washington answered back, driving through the lane to put the Lady Panthers up 10-9. McCloud hit her third 3-pointer of the game and the Lady Indians went up by two. Chapel Hill’s Alex Weems ended the quarter, going 1-for-2 from the line and the Lady Panthers trailed 12-11.
McCloud started the second quarter with their fourth 3-point shot. Down 12-16 early in the second, Weems single handedly tied the game with four straight free throws. With four minutes to play before the half, Dodge went up 18-16. The Lady Indians widened their lead to four over the next two minutes before Weems ended the Lady Panther scoring drought with a layup.
Down 21-19 with 16 seconds on the clock, Mixon was fouled driving to the basket and hit 1-of-2 shots from the line to cut the deficit to one point. The Lady Panthers got the ball back and with four-tenths of a second remaining, Mixon sent a final attempt to the basket but overshot the hoop. Chapel Hill trailed at the half 21-20.
McCloud led all scorers at the half with 14 points. Weems and Washington led the Lady Panthers with six points each.
Dodge’s big post player, Rachel Selph took over in the opening minutes of the third quarter. She hit two layups and was fouled on a third attempt, but hit both shots from the line to put her team up 27-22 with five minutes remaining in the period. Needing a basket, Washington connected on her first 3-pointer of the evening and then followed that up with an offensive rebound and put-back to tie the game at 27-27.
Over the next minute, Chapel Hill used turnovers and free throw shots to take a two point advantage. On Dodge’s next possession, a late foul call sent McCloud to the line and she hit both shots, tying the game. at 29-29. As the clock ticked down to the final 15 seconds of the third, Jones managed a steal but missed on the open layup. However, Mixon was right behind her, grabbed the rebound and scored on the put-back. The Lady Panthers led 31-29 heading into the final quarter.
It took the Lady Indians only 30 seconds to tie the game at 31-31 in the fourth when Selph hit back-to-back shots from the line. Mixon gave the lead back to Chapel Hill at the seven minute mark with a layup. Weems then intercepted a pass and found an open Mixon for an easy layup and four point advantage. A free throw by Washington and layup by Jones over the next minute stretched Chapel Hill’s lead to 38-31.
Dodge fought back and with 3 minutes remaining pulled to within two points off a free throw and two layups from Selph.
Weems grabbed a rebound and scored on the put-back to put the Lady Panthers up four. Chapel Hill then managed to run the clock down to the final minute, forcing the Lady Indians to foul. Over the next 45 seconds Jones and Washington hit 4-of-6 shots from the line, building an eight point lead. Dodge’s Selph added a final basket, but the Lady Panthers would come away with the victory, advancing to the Elite-8 next week.
Washington led the offensive with 14 points. Mixon followed with 12. Both Jones and Weems scored eight each.
Chapel Hill managed to hold the hot first half shooting McCloud to only two free throws in the second half. She finished with 16 points. With more focus on the outside game, the inside game flourished with Selph scoring 14 second half points, finishing the game with 15 total.
The Lady Panthers will now hit the road, traveling to Beach High School for an Elite-8 match-up on Tuesday. Chapel Hill finished the 2012-13 season undefeated at home.
Chapel Hill had several special quests in attendance from Harvester Christian Academy and Arbor Station Elementary School Friday night. The list included third grader Sarah Gilley, fourth grader Abigail Wilson, fourth grader Carmen Wilson, second grader Mary Reese Johnson, fourth grader Sarah Beth Patman, second grader Samia McKinney, and third grader Samari McKinney. The Lady Panthers players have spent time all year mentoring these young girls who play for the AAU Lady Eagles under coach Candice Zachary. Zachary was also in attendance.