McKinley High rode a 12-game winning streak into its first-round girls basketball playoff game.
But it was rival Scotlandville High that ran away with a 51-37 Class 5A victory at home by outscoring the Panthers 23-11 over the final 13 minutes to break open a two-point game on Thursday night.
“We talked about it halftime,” Scotlandville coach Nikeya Walker said. “We knew they’d make a run at us. I told them we just had to keep our composure and stay together. I’m so proud of my girls because they did what they were supposed to do.”
With the win, 13th-seeded Scotlandville (17-14) travels to play Lake Charles-based Barbe in Monday’s regional round. McKinley, the 20th seed, finished 22-9. It was the first time the two teams from different districts had played in 2015-16.
McKinley cut the SHS lead to two points twice in the third quarter.
After Caira Wren scored in the lane with 4:46 in the third quarter, McKinley had the momentum and had cut the lead to 28-26.
Scotlandville turned the ball over, giving the Panthers a chance to tie it. But McKinley also turned it over, igniting a 10-4 run that closed out the quarter for Scotlandville. McKinley never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.
“We just stuck together and made plays when we had to,” Scotlandville’s Justice Coleman added.
Karlena Keller led the Scotlandville with a game-high 18 points, including two 3-pointers. Coleman added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the winners.
Alexius Horne scored 15 of her team-high 17 points for McKinley in the second half. She had nine rebounds. Horne scored seven quick points to start the third quarter to get the Panthers within striking distance. Caira Wren added 11 for MHS.
“Scotlandville came to play and they finished,” McKinley coach Krystal Huggins said. “We came back and they responded. We let up and they didn’t. This is a young group, and this is something we can learn from. They see what it takes now.”
Both teams struggled with jitters and turnovers in the first quarter. Coleman had two first-quarter baskets to help Scotlandville claim a 6-4 first-quarter lead.
The Hornets controlled the second quarter, outscoring the McKinley 15-4 to build a 13-point lead. Coleman scored six points during the surge.
As Scotlandville heated up, McKinley went cold. The Panthers were 2-for-15 from the field until the final minute. That’s when point guard Megan Sharper penetrated into the lane and dished off to Wren for two easy baskets.
Those late baskets got McKinley within nine points, at 21-12, by halftime.
A 3-pointer by Keller helped diffuse the 7-0 run Horne got McKinley on. As the third quarter went on, the Hornets took advantage of some of McKinley’s defensive flaws. Eight of Scotlandville’s final 10 points in the third quarter came on easy putbacks around the goal. The Hornets led 38-30 going into the final quarter and never let up.
“I think our inexperience showed,” McKinley’s Sharper said. “We’ve been used to playing ahead of teams. We did come back, and I think we got a little complacent after that.”