CLASS 1A, REGION 4 GIRLS FINAL

The Villages eliminates Newberry on late shot


Newberry coach Ray Parrish said too many turnovers Saturday hurt the Panthers' chances of returning to Lakeland for a second straight season.

Michael Wilson/The Lakeland Ledger
Published: Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 12:30 a.m.

THE VILLAGES – Throughout the entire 2012-2013 season, the Newberry High School girls basketball team could be counted on for one thing: winning on the road.

Saturday night, in their most important road game of the year, the Class 1A Regional final, the Panthers lost in dramatic fashion 46-44 to end their season instead of a trip to Lakeland for the state semifinals for a second consecutive year.

The Villages' Asia Marion hit a game-winning, 12-foot jumper with six seconds left in the game to break a 44-44 tie. Marion led all scorers with 19 points. Dymeria Clayton, who only played one minute in the third quarter due to foul trouble, led the Panthers with 11 points.

Newberry was a perfect 10-0 in its opponent's home gym, 3-2 at neutral sites and 9-5 at home.

“It is a tough place to play,” said Newberry coach Ray Parrish.

While the boisterous Buffalo fans had the gym rocking, Newberry's sloppy play was the reason the Panthers (21-7) aren't advancing.

“The bottom line is turnovers hurt us tonight,” Parrish said. “We turned the ball over 15 times, but the thing was we still had a chance.”

Many of the 15 turnovers were because of traveling. The Panthers also hurt themselves at the foul line, missing nine of 17 attempts.

With :54 seconds left in the game and Newberry holding a one-point lead, 42-41, Buffalo forward Ricki Batterbee converted a traditional three-point play giving The Villages ( 18-5) a 43-42 edge. The Panthers then turned the ball over for the 14th time on the ensuing in-bounds play. Buffalo guard Alexia Character, who hit two big 3-pointers in the second half, was fouled with :33 seconds left but Character missed both, giving the Panthers life. A'asharee Spralding then scored on a put-back for Newberry, knotting the game at 44. After Marion's game-winner tickled the twine, the Panthers had four seconds to go the length of the court. It was no coincidence Newberry turned the ball over to end the game.

Despite holding the lead for only four minutes in the first half, Newberry had a 23-17 lead at the break. The Panthers outscored the Buffalo 14-5 in the second quarter. Marion had 10 of The Villages' 17 first-half points.

“It is heart-breaking that we weren't ready to play tonight,” Parrish said. “We'll learn we are a young ball club, only two seniors on this team. We'll work hard and come back next year.”

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