By Thomas Sellers Jr.
ARLINGTON — Coming down to the final seconds with the score tied at 43-43, Bartlett Lady Panthers Head Coach Lynn Whitfield was going to set up a play for her star player Charity Savage.
All those in attendance in the Arlington Gymnasium watching the Region 7-3A Girls Basketball Tournament Semifinal contest was fully aware the play would go to Savage. The opposing Munford Lady Cougars and their Head Coach Steve Poindexter tried to get the double-team over in time.
But Savage made a clean catch of the basketball in the low block. The senior heading to Middle Tennessee State made her move and launched a fade-away jumper. The ball bounced on the rim with 3 seconds remaining on the clock.
After a few bounces, the ball finally fell through the net as the buzzer sounded. The Lady Panthers were victorious 45-43 and the Munford Lady Cougars’ 2015-16 season was over with a 19-12 record.
The showdown between the Lady Cougars and Lady Panthers was close throughout with Bartlett leading 14-12 in the first quarter. The Lady Panthers were ahead 23-19 at halftime.
Bartlett managed to maintain the advantage throughout the third quarter taking a 32-31 lead into the fourth. The Lady Panthers built a 37-31 advantage early in the final quarter when Savage hit a jumper.
Lady Cougar standout Johnna Jones led her team back with a layup and three-pointer to make the score 37-36.
Moments later the game was tied at 38-38 when Savage made a move in the post for a bucket.
Trailing 41-38, Munford guard Shania Johnson stepped up with a jumper making the tally 41-40. After Bartlett went ahead 43-40, Johnson nailed a baseline three-pointer to deadlock the game at 43-43.
The Lady Panthers had the ball with 21.5 seconds remaining on the clock. After dribbling the clock down to about 7 seconds, the ball went inside to Savage for the game-winning shot. Bartlett advanced to Wednesday night’s championship game to be played in Arlington. And the Lady Panthers have earned a spot in Saturday’s Sub-State round.