COLUMBIA — The Newberry High School Lady Bulldogs saw their magical season come to a heartbreaking loss Saturday afternoon at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia as Bishop England won the 3A state championship with a last second shot to win 48-47.
Newberry led throughout the entire first three quarters by single digits, but the Battling Bishops used their height and broadness advantages to prevent the Lady Bulldogs from building up any kind of substantial lead.
Going into the final quarter with an eight-point lead, Newberry saw the low end of the scoreboard for the first time in the waning minutes of the game.
Bishop England went to the free throw line late in the fourth quarter when a converted shot didn’t go up on the scoreboard, leaving Newberry with a three-point lead.
After a couple of minutes of the shot still not making it up onto the board, the Bishops made a shot inside the paint, where everyone thought it was still a Newberry one-point lead.
A time-out was called as both teams’ books and the official scorebook agreed that the score was tied.
Newberry still had a one-point lead with eight seconds to go as Bishop England came out of their time-out with possession just inside mid-court.
With about three seconds to go, a throw under the basket went to a wide-open Bishop England player as her lay-up at the buzzer gave her team their fourth consecutive state title.
Kelsey Felks scored five of her 15 points from the free throw line. Rayanna Davis also scored in each quarter as she scored 13 points.
Zacharia Epps finished with nine points, including scoring five points in the fourth stanza. Nigeria Davis scored six points, while Reghan Miller scored three. Lindsey Ruff ended the Newberry scoring with one point.
Newberry ends their season with an overall record of 24-3, as they won 16 of their last 17 games.
Melissa Mendenhall was the head coach this year and was assisted by Tonya Jeter and John Lesaine.
The members of the team included Shandrick Davis, Diamond Davis, Reghan Miller, Lindsey Ruff, Zacharia Epps, Tashari Hayward, Nigeria Davis, Rayanna Davis, Kelsey Felks, Pourcelyn Aiken, Jalia Perry, and Kelsey Havird.
Bishop England was the only 4A school or smaller to defeat Newberry this year in 24 games.
In the last conversation the late Newberry County School Superintendent Bennie Bennett had with the Lady Bulldogs last year was to “leave everything on the court” and to play with “no regrets.”
Playing every single game like that this season, the entire Newberry team left every single thing they had in them on the court Saturday.