MACON, Ga. — The turnovers and nerves wrote a disappointing closing chapter to the season, but Westside coach Ivory Hugee has no problem looking fondly on the past and the potential in the future.
The most successful season in Lady Patriots history came to a close on Friday with a 62-37 loss to Columbia in a Class AAA state semifinal at the Macon Coliseum.
“This has been a great season. We can’t let one game destroy us,” Hugee said. “We’ve got a good foundation.”
After winning a school-record 27 games this season, the Lady Patriots fell behind 12-0 in a flash.
As Columbia’s pressure created steals and layups, Westside struggled to score.
It took the Lady Patriots almost seven minutes to make their first field goal.
It also took them nearly five minutes before they had their first basket of the second half.
“That’s our game plan all along,” Lady Eagles coach Chantay Frost said about the start.
Yakitiva Hickson was strong early for Columbia, helping to spark a 6-0 run to begin the second period.
For Westside, Jahmia Bradley scored four of her team’s five field goals in the opening half. She had a team-high 14 points.
The Lady Patriots (27-5) trailed by as much as 19 points in the second.
The deficit grew to 20 in the third, and though Westside’s Tyesha Ravenell scored to make it 43-29, Columbia was never in trouble, with Miah Spencer tallying eight of her 15 points in the third quarter.
The Lady Eagles (23-5) increased their advantage in the fourth, thus securing a meeting with Region 3-AAA champion Washington County in the state final.
The teams met a season ago in a semifinal, which the Lady Hawks won on their way to a championship.
As the final seconds ticked away for Westside, its fans and players on the bench stood and clapped as the most successful season in program history reached its conclusion.
“We hope we’ll be here again,” Hugee said.