So Very Close
- Updated: February 28, 2017
Lady Govs take No. 3 Oak Ridge to the buzzer, exit with heads high
William Blount junior Taylor Goforth puts up a free throw during Monday’s Region 2AAA semifinal at Oak Ridge. Photos by Wallace Bowden
By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row
Oak Ridge — A year from now Taylor Goforth makes that shot — and wins state.
You never know.
Look who they almost beat.
Then there’s the last 1.3 seconds as William Blount tries to inbound to senior Hannah Fuller in front of the Lady Governor bench.
Watch the clock in the accompanying video. Listen for the whistle. Watch the clock.
William Blount lost a 48-47 heartbreaker to No. 3-ranked Oak Ridge in a Region 2AAA semifinal Monday night.
When Goforth’s runner in the lane banked out with less than five seconds left, the host Lady Wildcats, last season’s Class AAA runners up, moved on to face Hardin Valley for the region championship Wednesday night, a berth in Saturday’s substate round secured.
The last eight seconds were some memorable basketball. More worthy of being remembered is how the Lady Governors left the floor: heads up, congratulatory handshake to the winners.
The loss was surely toughest on seniors Kenzie Thompson, Abby Sunshine, Abbey McGuire, Kaitlyn Messer, Maggie Bell and Fuller.McGuire went out with the guns blazing, knocking down five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points. William Blount sank 11 treys all told, with sophomore Alyssa Walker finding the mark for three in following McGuire into double figures with 11.
Gorforth, nine points, Abbi Joseph, five, freshman Jenna Kallenberg, three, also hits 3s, with Fuller adding a drive to the basket for a deuce to tie the game at 43-all with six minutes left.
Two more, from anybody, and William Blount is through to substate.
“We knew if we played well we’d be right there at the end with a chance,” William Blount coach Todd Wright said, “and we were.”
After a 27-27 tie at the half, McGuire and Walker, two each, combined for four third-quarter 3s as the Lady Governors took a 41-39 lead into the final frame. William Blount needed those bombs. Oak Ridge was merciless in transition in the period.
“We talked about getting a lot of people back to stop them in transition,” Wright said, “and I thought the kids did a good job at that.”Goforth’s layup with 2:14 remaining in the fourth gave the Lady Governors their last lead at 47-45. An Oak Ridge steal and Mykia Dowdell breakaway basket tied the game at 47-47 inside the final minute.
Lady Wildcat star Jada Guinn made good on the second of two free throws with 31 seconds remaining for the winning margin.
Wright was philosophical about the loss.
“We got a good look at it,” he said. “It just didn’t go down.”
Neither did William Blount, without one heckuva fight.