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Second-half shooting woes doom Bobcats

Phil Campbell made a single free-throw in the fourth quarter of the Northwest Regional semifinals, allowing the Winfield Pirates to complete a second-half comeback and end the Bobcats’ season 47-42.

“That’s a tough loss,” said Phil Campbell coach Craig Thomas. “I thought we had a good chance to win the game at halftime, and it got away from us. I didn’t make the right adjustments at halftime. It’s all on me. We just didn’t shoot the ball well, and as the game got closer, I think we got tighter.”

Leading by 12 points at halftime and based on the flow of the game, the Bobcats were seemingly in control. But little by little, the Pirates were able to claw their way back into the ballgame. Winfield switched from a man-to-man defense to a zone defense in the second half and dared Phil Campbell to beat them from the outside. The Bobcats could not. After starting out the game 7-for-8 from the field in the first quarter, and Kallie Allen nailing a corner three, the Bobcats would make just nine more field goals the rest of the game and no more threes.

“When a team goes zone, you have to shoot them out of it,” said Thomas. “We were getting good looks at the basket but just couldn’t knock them down.”

Winfield scored the first four points of the second half to cut Phil Campbell’s lead to 29-21. By the end of the quarter, Winfield’s C’era Beck had gotten hot, scoring 11 points and cutting the Bobcats’ lead to 41-36.

Phil Campbell’s Caitlynn Mills made a free-throw with 5:31 to go in the game, and that would be the only point the Bobcats would score in the second half.

Allen and senior Abby Davis led the Bobcats with 13 points and 12 points respectively. Olivia Taylor added eight points, Mills four points, Katie Thomas four points and eight rebounds and Kenner Scott one point.

Davis, who could barely contain her emotions in the postgame interview room, said she hated to see her team’s season end.

“It seems like it ended way too soon,” said Davis, who will continue her basketball career at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. “I just think we could have made it so much farther.”

Davis is Thomas’ lone senior, and he said she has set the example for the younger girls to follow.

“Abby has been great for us,” said Thomas. “She works hard, she stays in the gym – she is a great example for these other girls if they want to get back. I just told them after the game to remember what this feeling is like. It is no fun to lose. We have to work harder if we want to get back here again.”