Titans falter late in title game despite Quinerly’s 22
by Jamaar Hawkins, recruit757
Lake Taylor started fast, but cooled off late in a 53-46 loss to Millbrook in Saturday’s Class 4 state championship.
Despite 22 points from 4A Region Player of the Year JaNaiya Quinerly, the Lady Titans were unable to sustain much offense outside of the freshman guard. Sophomore Jordan Poole battled foul trouble all game, finishing with four points and five rebounds. Lake Taylor struggled with Poole saddled on the bench.
“Jordan is a young player that will continue to get better,” Lake Taylor head Saundra Sawyer said following the contest. Sawyer, who captured state titles in 2010, 2013 and 2014 with the Titans, was denied an opportunity at her fourth crown on Saturday.
Lake Taylor trailed 24-22 at the half, and watched as the Millbrook lead grew to as much seven in the fourth quarter. With Appalachian State signee Halie McDonald watching from the bench with a season-ending injury, Millbrook finished the season with an unbeaten mark, finally taking a sigh of relief with two seconds remaining on the clock and a commanding lead.
Despite the absence of McDonald, Millbrook got contributions from a number of players including Amari Anthony, who finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Madison Green and Erika Reed also combined for 22 points and 11 rebounds. On the contrary, Quinerly was the lone Titan to finish in double figures.
Give the Pioneers credit, even with Quinerly scoring at will, Lake Taylor was unable to run away with the game. Lake Taylor led by eight with 3:44 left in the third quarter, but was outscored 26-13 in the fourth quarter as the Pioneers rallied. Millbrook head coach Erick Green knew the Titans were a talented bunch, but still inexperienced. It was something he figured would haunt Lake Taylor in key spots.
With just two seniors on their roster, Lake Taylor is primed to contend for state titles for the foreseeable future. But neither the players, nor Titans head coach Saundra Sawyer was quite ready to look ahead to next season.
“We were up and we just made some bad decisions. We didn’t get to the free throw line and that hurt us. ”