Dexter girls basketball drops state tournament rematch, Miller Career wins 48-45
JACKSON — The Dexter Bearcats came up a little short Saturday in a rematch of last year’s Class 4 state quarterfinal against Miller Career Academy.
The Bearcats fell behind by as many as 14 points in the first half but rallied in the fourth to cut their deficit to one point. However, Miller Career held on for a 48-45 victory at the Jackson Lady Indian Showcase.
“(Getting an early lead) was important against a team like Dexter,” said Miller Career coach Darrin White, whose team won the postseason matchup 63-44. “I felt like if we wanted an advantage the second half we had to be up because you know this guy (Chad Allen) can coach. … I felt good going into halftime. We executed what we talked about.”
Dexter cut its deficit to 43-42 on a free throw by Keirstan Keirsey with 1:11 to go and her layup along the baseline with 43 seconds left.
Shadagha Clouson sank three of four free throws to extend Miller Career’s lead to four with 27 seconds left.
Mosby countered with a 3-pointer with nine seconds remain, cutting Miller Career’s lead to 46-45.
Daisha Seltzer made two free throws with eight seconds left to restore a three-point lead.
“That was clutch,” White said of his team’s late free throws. “We haven’t shot well from the free-throw line all year, but we did do well today. I was pleased with that.”
The Bearcats (15-6) had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but Mosby’s desperation 3-point attempt was off target.
“We just dug ourselves too big of a hole,” Dexter coach Chad Allen said. “Defensively, we weren’t very good for three quarters. I thought finally in the fourth quarter, we started to get active. I thought our half-court trap was good and got us back in it and gave us a chance to win.”
Miller Career (12-7) out-rebounded the Bearcats 22-17 over the first three quarters. Each team grabbed nine in the fourth where the Bearcats held an 18-14 scoring advantage.
“In the Saxony Lutheran game (a 63-59 win on Jan. 28), I thought we blocked out pretty well,” Allen said. “Just seemed like we were too flat-footed today. We’ve got to be ready every possession and block out every possession. But for some reason, we lose our assignment here and there, and that’s not good.”
Antuanae Garrett scored eight of Miller Career’s 11 first-quarter points, Keirsey scored all five of Dexter’s and the Phoenix carried a six-point lead into the second quarter.
The Phoenix shot 42 percent (5 of 12) from the field in the first quarter, while Dexter made only two of 10 shots (20 percent).
“Again, we were just too stagnant,” Allen said. “We were stagnant because we weren’t very active. We didn’t set good screens. We didn’t cut hard off the screens. We just didn’t execute very well offensively, but they had a lot to do with that. Miller Career is always going to get after you and guard you pretty hard.”
Miller Career extended its lead to 14 points (24-10) on a driving layup by Rayn Tally, who scored six of her eight points in the second quarter.
Mosby, the Bearcats’ leading scorer, didn’t score her first point until 2:30 remaining in the first half. She made a 3-pointer, cutting their deficit to 24-13. She went four for four from the free-throw line, as they closed the half with a 7-2 run and trailed 26-17 at intermission.
The Phoenix shot 70 percent (7 of 10) from the field in the second, including five points by Seltzer, who finished with 12, and four by Jayrissa Grayson.
Garrett, who finished with a team-high 15 points, scored a second-chance bucket, and Seltzer drove inside for a layup to push Miller Career’s lead to 30-17 to start the second half. The Bearcats closed the quarter with a 7-2 run and trailed 34-27 entering the fourth.
Mosby scored seven of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter. Maycie Martin had five of her 11 in the fourth.
The Bearcats scored seven of their 18 fourth-quarter points from the free-throw line. They finished 13 of 17 overall.
“We definitely got to the free throw line,” Allen said. “We started attacking the rim a little bit more, which helped us offensively. We didn’t do that much that first three quarters.”
MILLER CAREER (12-7) — Seltzer 4(1) 3-3 12. Aj. Garrett 1(0) 0-0 2. Rayn Tally 4(0) 0-1 8. An. Garrett 7(0) 1-1 15. Raya Tally 0. Degrate 0. Grayson 3(0) 0-2 6. Clouson 0 5-6 5. Totals 19(1) 9-13 48.
DEXTER (15-6) — Martin 4(0) 3-5 11. Allen 2(1) 0-0 5. Sitze 1(1) 0-0 3. Keirsey 3(1) 2-4 9. Mosby 3(3) 8-8 17. McBride 0. Totals 13(6) 13-17 45.