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Lady Chiefs lose a heartbreaker to A.C. Flora

The North Myrtle Beach girls basketball team had their season end at the hands of the A.C. Flora Lady Falcons on Tuesday evening at the North Myrtle Beach High School gym. The 53-51 final score was as close as the game itself, as both teams had their ups and downs, with A.C. Flora holding on in the final seconds for the victory.

North Myrtle Beach took the opening tip of the game and quickly got a basket from Jordan Berger underneath for a 2-0 lead. The Lady Falcons tied it up and then Berger hit a three-pointer from the left side to give the Lady Chiefs a 5-2 but A.C. Flora quickly hit their three for a 5-5 score. Both teams were cold for much of the next several minutes until A.C. Flora got a basket and Daveona Hatchell made two free throws for a 7-7 tie.

A.C. Flora got a free throw and Hatchell knocked down a three and the Lady Chiefs had a brief 10-8 lead. North Myrtle Beach couldn’t score for the remainder of the period and A.C. Flora added two late baskets for a 12-10 lead after one period.

Jermaisha Griffin got the first points of the second period on a steal to even the scoring at 12 but A. C. Flora scored the next three points to lead 15-12. It was under five minutes left before the Lady Chiefs scored on a Riley Vincent jumper to make it 15-14. The teams traded baskets but an A.C. Flora three-pointer gave the Lady Falcons a 20-16 lead.

A Griffin jumper was all the scoring North Myrtle Beach could get for the rest of the period, while the Lady Falcons scored seven points to take a 27-18 lead at the half.

The Lady Chiefs came out firing in the third period as Hatchell’s basket underneath and two more Hatchell scores made it 27-24. Two more baskets by Griffin and a drive by A.C. Flora made it 31-28. Then Berger scored to pull the Lady Chiefs to within one at 31-30, then 32-30 before Janeii Boone hit a big three for a 33-32 NMB lead. A.C. Flora got the lead back and the period ended with the Lady Falcons holding a 36-35 margin.

The fourth period started with Griffin’s jumper giving the Lady Chiefs the lead back 37-36. That was followed by a technical foul called on the Lady Chiefs bench and the two made free throws gave A.C. Flora the lead back 38-37. Near the 5:55 mark NMB stole the ball and Jordan Berger rebounded a missed shot up, then hit two free throws 30 seconds later for a 41-38 NMB lead. A.C. Flora scored the next four points to take the lead back 42-41 but Hatchell’s three-pointer made it 44-42 NMB.

The Lady Chiefs added another basket by Hatchell while A.C. Flora was keeping it close while the Lady Chiefs had trouble scoring. The Lady Falcons tied and then went ahead by a 48-46 score with 2:14 left in the game. A.C. Flora made two free throws to go up 50-46 with less than a minute left. The Lady Chiefs weren’t finished. A Hatchell three point shot and a Berger basket gave the Lady Chiefs a 51-50 lead with 38 seconds left. A Lady Falcon foul shot tied the score at 51. An A.C. Flora steal ended with a made free throw and another made free throw gave the Lady Falcons a 53-51 lead with nine seconds left.

The Lady Chiefs got the ball down the left side but Hatchell’s long jumper missed and the scramble for the ball eventually ended up in A. C. Flora’s possession as the buzzer sounded.

A very disappointed Lady Chiefs team left the court and an equally disappointed coach tried to find words. “We fought until the very end but we just couldn’t finish it. It has been a wonderful season. We were expected to go further in these playoffs and it is unfortunate to end it this way. We just have to move on to next year,” Brooke Smith said.

The Lady Chiefs finished the season with a 15-5 record, not counting the playoff game. They were 6-3 in region play.

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