CLARENDON — It was not the ending that Carlisle fans expected in the finals of the 2A-6 junior girls district tournament Saturday.
Hazen upset the top-seeded Junior Lady Bison 46-44 to win the championship. Carlisle previously defeated Hazen 36-23 in January.
Hazen led 22-13 at halftime. Carlisle opened the second half with a 7-0 run to get back into the game at 22-20. The Junior Lady Bison took a 29-28 lead on a putback by Ashby Terry with 1:21 left in the third quarter.
Carlisle managed to hold on to the lead, pushing it to 40-36 with 3:12 left in the game following two free throws by Journey Jennings. From there, Hazen scored seven consecutive points to lead 43-40 with 1:29 left.
Carlisle got to within one at 43-42 after two free throws by Kylie Warren with 29.9 seconds left.
Each team had opportunities to score; Carlisle missed a layup with 14.7 seconds left that would have given the Junior Lady Bison a 44-43 lead.
Hazen’s Tamara Pinkney hit 1 of 2 free throws with 8.2 seconds left to make the score 44-42.
Carlisle could not get a shot off before the final buzzer sounded.
Carlisle played most of the game without guard Nikita Harper, who injured a knee with 4:30 left in the first quarter.
"Losing her early hurt," Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo said of Harper. "It just gave someone else the opportunity to step up. I thought we didn’t play real well in the first half. We gave them too many easy baskets.
"I thought we came out in the second half with more intensity and fought hard to get back into the game. We got over that hump a little bit but I think we ran out of gas because we had to play with so much emotion in the third quarter. "
In the loss, Carlisle missed 18 free throws.
"We had a good season," Buffalo said. "We were able to get some wins for the program that we haven’t had in a while. We won a conference championship, beat Lonoke. That is something we haven’t done in a while.
"I told them in the locker room that this should make us want to get better, work harder. I was proud of them for the season they had."
Warren led Carlisle with 22 points. Elex McClain had 11. Arius McClain scored three Scoring two each were Terry, Nicquira Burnett and Jennings.
Pinkney led Hazen with 25 points.
Carlisle ends its season at 14-5.
The Junior Lady Bison advanced to the title game with a 43-20 win over Brinkley last week.
Warren led Carlisle with 15 points. Elex McClain and Harper had eight points each. Arius McClain scored five. Scoring two each were Terry, Peyton Van Houten and Ashley Harbison. Burnett added a free throw.