With time winding down in Scottsboro’s 56-47 Class 5A Girls Northeast Regional championship game loss to Brewer, the realization hit Scottsboro senior Keara Sexton hard.
“Whenever the clock was running down, under a minute, it just started getting in my head ‘this is the last time I was going to get to play with my girls,’” Sexton said as she fought back tears. “I love everybody on this team. It’s been great.”
Scottsboro’s season came to a close Thursday morning with the loss to the No. 7 Patriots at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.
Scottsboro was trying to win its second straight regional title. The loss ended the Wildcats’ eight-game winning streak.
The game was the fourth between Scottsboro and Brewer, who were Area 15 rivals. The teams split the season series 2-2, with the teams each winning once in the regular-season and once in the postseason.
Scottsboro held Brewer to only 32 percent shooting during its 36-32 Area 15 Tournament championship game on Feb. 7. But in Thursday’s regional final, the Patriots shots fell early and often. Brewer made 5 of 6 3-pointers in the first half, and then started the second half by making six of its first seven shots from the field.
“They just made shots. ,” said Scottsboro head coach Brandon Childers. “They hit outside shots. We thought surely they’re not going to keep shooting like that, and they did.”
Brewer finished 7 of 12 from 3-point arc.
“That’s not our m.o.,” said Brewer head coach Jeff Andrews. “We’re usually inside to out, driving and posting. Today, we hit them.”
Meanwhile, Scottsboro uncharacteristically struggled from the 3-point arc, making only 2 of 15 attempts. The Wildcats shot only 39 percent (17 of 44) overall. Foul shooting was nearly dead even: Scottsboro sinking 11 of 13 free throws while Brewer made all 13 of its attempts.
The game featured five ties and six lead changes during a first-half that closed with Scottsboro in front 25-23 after Emily Garner beat the second-quarter buzzer with a putback.
But McCarley Northway drained a 3-pointer on Brewer’s first possession of the third quarter, and the Patriots scored points on their first four third-quarter possessions en route to a carrying a 36-32 lead into the fourth. The Wildcats pulled within 38-36 with six minutes left after a Keara Sexton jumper, but Brewer followed with a 10-0 run and led by as many as 11 on the way to closing out the game.
Northway, the regional MVP, finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Brewer (24-9), which plays No. 4 Central-Tuscaloosa in the 5A state semifinals Wednesday night in Birmingham. The Patriots also got 12 points from Jacie Andrews, nine from Leisha Steger and eight from Hope West.
Sexton had a game-high 20 points to go with three steals for Scottsboro while Emily Garner had 13 points and nine rebounds and Carley Bell had 10 points. Sexton and Garner both made the all-regional tournament team.
Childers thanked his Scottsboro players for a memorable first season with the program.
“I’m proud of what the kids did,” he said. “We had some adversity in the middle of the year with injuries and things. We were able to bounce back and were playing pretty well at the end of the year. It was my pleasure to coach them.”
Garner said she would cherish her Scottsboro playing career and the run the Wildcats made the past two seasons.
“It’s meant a ton to me,” she said.