The Tattnall Square girls celebrated in the FPD visitor’s locker room on Friday night.
The jubilation, however, was subdued following a 47-38 win over rival FPD.
The Trojans (22-3, 5-1 in GISA Region 2-AAA) locked up the top seed heading into next week’s region tournament with the win. But with four strong teams in the region, a team could just as easily enter the tournament as the top seed and leave with the No. 4 seed as win the tournament, head coach Richard Reid said.
“Everything starts over next week,” Reid said. “I think the honor of getting the top seed is good, but if we don’t execute next week is doesn’t matter.”
The regular season region championship is the first for the Trojans in a while. Reid said it has been at least since the late 1990s — and maybe even longer — that they were the No. 1 seed in the region tournament.
“We can celebrate this (Friday), but we have to stay hungry,” junior Shanice Stanley said. “The region tournament should be a good challenge.”
The Trojans earned the top seed by avoiding some of the problems that plagued them in a two-point loss to the Lady Vikings on Jan. 26.
The last time the teams met, the Trojans got a good taste of Ashley Cope and Fran Johnson.
The Trojans learned from the mistakes and kept the Lady Vikings’ two standouts under control for most of the game. Tattnall’s defense held Cope and Johnson — who combined for 40 of their team’s 47 points in the previous meeting — to zero field goals and three points in the first half.
Both eventually turned things around, but FPD (14-11, 3-3) was fighting out of a 17-point deficit at that point.
“We were down 15 points at the half, and we told them we missed 13 shots around the basket,” FPD head coach Charley Chase said. “We missed too many opportunities and got into a hole against a great team. I think (the Trojans) will be in the Final Four.”
FPD cut into the lead in the third quarter to pull within 11, but then Stanley scored eight of the Trojans’ next nine points to push the lead to 16.
The Lady Vikings again inched closer when more aggressive play on both ends of the court in the fourth quarter. Cope made a pair of free throws to pull FPD within seven points with three minutes to play, but the Lady Vikings didn’t score the rest of the game.
“They just always answered our runs,” Chase said. “I’m proud we fought, but we need to get ready for the region tournament next week.”
Tattnall started to pull away from FPD late in the first quarter, when a 7-0 run to close the quarter broke open a tie game. Anna Dooley’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer gave Tattnall a 15-8 lead.
The Trojans then had an 8-0 run in the second quarter on two baskets apiece from Kimberly Vinson and Peaches Campbell. Another Dooley 3-pointer gave the Trojans their biggest lead of the game at 28-11 late in the quarter.
FPD senior Rebekah Rabun scored her team’s only points in the second quarter on a pair of jumpers and a free throw.
“I think we got a lot of momentum with our quick start,” Stanley said. “You play with a lot of confidence with a big lead.”