ROSWELL — It didn’t matter that Berkmar trailed by 14 or 16 or 18 points in the closing minutes, the Patriots didn’t give in.
They didn’t send Roswell to the foul line to pad its lead. Rather, they stuck to their scrappy defense. After all, that’s the kind of season they’ve had. A season heavy in adversity ended on Friday night in a 46-33 loss to the Hornets in the first round of the state playoffs.
Roswell advances to play host on Tuesday against No. 5 North Gwinnett.
Berkmar fell behind 8-0 only two and half minutes into the game, and couldn’t climb out of that hole. While coach Todd McCutcheon’s team won the final two quarters, it was too late to pull the upset.
“I don’t think we responded early,” McCutcheon said. “I think they came out and brought it to us, instead of us bringing it to them.”
Teanna Robinson led the Patriots (18-11) with nine points, 12 rebounds and a blocked shot. Shelby Barker and Lindsay Gibson combined for 26 points for Roswell (21-7).
Roswell, the champion of Region 6-AAAAA, has won five of six games, and four straight.
“We knew that the team has kind of battled through adversity this season, so we knew they weren’t going to quit,” Roswell coach Lesley Broadwell said of her team’s second half mindset. “We knew they were going to come out with everything they had left.”
Berkmar’s season will be remembered for its three knee surgeries, a colon surgery and a fractured back.
“Everybody counted us out when we had all of our injuries,” McCutcheon said. “These girls are so resilient, and have faced so much adversity this year, I’m as proud as I can be of them.”
Berkmar didn’t recover from its slow start until the second half. It took the Patriots more than four minutes into the second quarter to record their first points, which was a big reason they trailed by 18 at halftime.
In the second half, they more than answered each Roswell basket. But they quickly played against the clock. Yet McCutcheon chose not to foul to extend the game because he preferred a scrappy defense that went for steals first.
“There really was no need to put them at the line in that situation,” McCutcheon said. “Just rather play aggressive defense, and do what we do. That was a team that fought, and battled, and just came up short.”