Girls’ record season ends in heartbreak

Girls' record season ends in heartbreak

Senior Victoria D’Esposito closed out her high-school career with a double-double Thursday.

Sam Lack, Sports Editor

With just 11.7 seconds left, sophomore Lydia Kline sank a 23-foot 3-point jump shot, adding to her game-high 13 points, but it wasn’t enough, as the Lady Wildcats fell to the Lake Highland Prep Highlanders 42-39 Thursday in the Class 4A regional quarterfinal.

The Lady Wildcats, who fell behind by as many as 7 points, rallied back to take a 1-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

“We were down by six at one point, and we weren’t sure if we could come back and score against their defense,” Kline said. “Then we hit a three, a few free throws, and we were right back in it.”

The Lady Wildcats also got a significant contribution from senior Victoria D’Esposito, who, in her final game as a high-school athlete, racked up a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Principal Rick Fleming, though disappointed by the season’s untimely end, is both impressed and amazed by the teams’ resolve and toughness throughout a record breaking season.

“While I’m proud of all the success and championships our teams win, what makes me the most proud is how all of our student athletes balance a rigorous curriculum and a crazy team agenda, with daily practices and games,” Fleming said. “Not only do our teams overcome tough school schedules to compete, we win”

The girls’ season ended short of their goals and dreams of a state title, but their final loss came in front of a crowd that is unprecedented for girls’ basketball games.

“It really shows great connectivity between students that they all come out to support one another,” Fleming said. “It really was a special moment to see all our students, athletes and academics alike, come together and support our girls.”

The Highlanders were led by Tori Andrew and Erin Decry, who combined for 19 points and the team shot a collective 11-12 from the free-throw line.

The referees made a controversial intentional foul call on junior Lauren Burns with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter. The foul was committed on Andrew, who proceeded to hit both free throws and retain possession for the Highlanders.

While the referees may not have called the game the way the Lady Wildcats expected, Kline realizes the importance of going into “next play mode” and not letting questionable calls effect the rest of the game.

“Sure, some calls didn’t go our way,” Kline said. “You have to put it past you, you can’t worry about what you can’t control.”

The Lady Wildcats graduate only two seniors, Victoria D’Esposito and Brooke Robertson, and they look to build on this year’s success.