RAINSVILLE — Halle Brown only attempted one 3-point shot all game. Her one attempt turned out to be the one shot she and the No. 1-seeded Plainview Bears needed to play for the DeKalb County Tournament championship.
Trailing by one with 5 seconds left, Jesi Fairris found Brown open on the left wing, where she fired a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to help lift the Bears past the No. 4 Ider Hornets 35-33 in the county semifinal round Thursday night.
“We knew it was going to be a game where it was going to be tough to shoot well but still had to find a way to win, and we just came through,” said Plainview coach Luke Griggs after his team won its 10th straight game and advanced to Saturday’s title game at DeKalb County Schools Coliseum.
Payton Blevins led Plainview (21-5) with 11 points, Elaine Puckett scored 10 points with 12 rebounds and Brown finished with seven points and six rebounds.
“It’s no surprise that our girls played hard all throughout the game,” Griggs said. “Give credit to Ider; they guarded us very well and made everything really tough.”
Kaleigh Carson led the Hornets (17-8) with 13 points, Makinley Traylor added seven points and Savannah Seals had six points.
The Bears held an 18-11 halftime lead and pushed it to 26-16 at the 3:25 mark in the third period after a jump shot by Lauren Jimmerson.
But Ider regrouped and whittled the lead with defensive stops, ball movement and high-percentage shot opportunities to close the quarter with a 4-0 run and overtake the lead entering the final period.
“We fought our tails off, especially on defense,” Ider coach Dustin Bryant said. “It just didn’t bounce our way at the end. That’s the best defense we’ve played all year.”
Traylor assisted Erin Pruett with a 3-pointer before Traylor sank a pair of free throws and Seals found Carson for a corner 3-pointer to pull the Hornets within 26-24 with 1:22 left in the third.
Allie Pruett dished out to Seals for a trey with 12 seconds left to give Ider a 27-26 edge.
The lead changed hands five times in the fourth. Jocelyn Hatfield hit a 3-pointer for Plainview and Traylor assisted Carson with a 3 before Carson made a pair of free throws to put the Hornets in front by one with 1:23 remaining.
Blevins drew a foul on a drive to the basket and split two free throw tries to bring the Bears within 33-32 with 18.3 seconds left. Carson poked away possession from Plainview with 10 seconds left. Traylor came up with the ball and was immediately fouled with 5 seconds to play.
Traylor missed the ensuing free throw and the Bears gained possession, leading to Brown’s game-winning 3.
“We played (Plainview) twice before and they beat us by 20-plus points both times,” Bryant said. “This game showed we have a lot of maturity, and since I’ve been coaching them, it’s one of those examples of how much they’ve grown up.”
Plainview plays No. 2 Collinsville for the county championship at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.