FORSYTH -- With a double-digit lead in the third quarter, Mary Persons appeared to be in control of its GHSA Class AAAA tournament game against Cross Creek on Monday, with KeKe Calloway and Nyeshia Davis proving very hard for the visiting Razorbacks to stop.
The Bulldogs fortunes, however, unraveled with Calloway on the sidelines due to foul trouble as the Razorbacks (24-3) rallied to tie the game early in the fourth quarter and go on to win 74-68 and advance to the quarterfinals.
When KeKe went out, it changed the whole game, Mary Persons head coach Kurt Greene said. What it did is they got a little mojo going. We seemed to die a little bit.
Calloway scored 33 points in a loss for the Bulldogs (24-4), and Davis was also dangerous on the offensive end, pouring in 25 points.
Mary Persons led 49-36 with 3:27 to play in the third quarter when Calloway picked up her fourth foul, forcing her to the bench to avoid picking up her fifth foul. Calloway returned two minutes later, but the damage was already done, as Cross Creek had cut the Mary Persons lead to 49-44. Although she scored 12 fourth-quarter points, Calloway never recaptured the torrid shooting streak from the first half and was also forced to play more tentative defensively to avoid fouling out of the game.
(KeKe) had to back off; she wasnt able to play defense the way we wanted her to, Greene said.
Mary Persons led 37-31 following a first half in which Calloway and Davis combined to sink eight 3-pointers and score all but three of Mary Persons points.
Every timeout, we talked about running our offense, Greene said. Eventually, they were going to push out on us once they figured out who our shooters were. They were going to push out on us and make us do something else, and we didnt do that. We couldnt get into our offense, late especially.
The Razorbacks trailed 53-51 going to the fourth quarter and never let go of the momentum, leading 58-56 with 6:51 to play on an offensive putback by Alana Davis. The Razorbacks never trailed again.
We just started playing better defense, Cross Creek head coach Kim Schlein said. I was going nuts at halftime asking them why they couldnt get on (Calloway) and (Davis). They were the only two shooting.
Mary Persons had a hard time stopping Cross Creeks inside scoring and layups in the fourth quarter, an issue compounded by the Bulldogs going more than five minutes without converting a field goal. Mary Persons trailed 67-60 with 1:58 to play, a deficit that ended up being too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
Mary Persons drew as close as three points, down 71-68 with 31 seconds to play after a layup and free throw by Calloway, but Cross Creeks Naomi Wilds, who scored 25 points, sank a foul shot to extend the Razorbacks lead to 72-68 with 18 seconds to play, all but clinching the win.