COMMERCIAL PRESS SERVICES

COMMERCIAL PRESS SERVICES

LITTLE ROCK — Call it a “heavenly” victory for Star City.

The 4A perennial power followed coach Becky Brown’s plan of keeping the score low and upset defending 5A state champion Watson Chapel 29-27 for the Mount St. Mary Heavenly Hoops championship on Saturday.

“We got up, pulled it out, held it and kept the score low,” Brown said. “We didn’t want it in their hands. They’ve got great athletes. They were bigger than us.”

Kindra Redix gave the Lady Bulldogs (6-0) a 29-26 edge with 40 seconds left by completing a three-point play as part of a five-point swing. Kamera Bozeman then made 1 of 2 free throws for Watson Chapel (2-1), and the Lady Wildcats rebounded after two missed Star City free throws with 24 seconds to go for a shot to tie or win — only to throw the ball away with 6 seconds left.

The Lady Wildcats sent the Lady Bulldogs back to the line with 1.4 ticks remaining, but Star City came up empty again and Chapel Jones’ desperation shot from beyond half-court was no good.

Juquecia Chaney of Star City led all scorers with 11 points, the only player in double figures. Jones had eight to lead Watson Chapel.

“Star City did an excellent job of controling the tempo,” Watson Chapel coach Leslie Henderson said. “Everytime we did something, they came down and answered.”

The game was tied at 8 through one quarter, and Star City took a 12-10 lead at halftime. Watson Chapel outscored Star City 11-9 in the third period — the highest-scoring frame of the game — to even it at 21.

The Lady Bulldogs outrebounded the Lady Wildcats 19-5.

“I knew it was bad, but not that bad,” Henderson said. “We either made a basket or we had to go back and play defense for 2 minutes.”

Star City, which reached the 4A semifinals last season, won its second tournament championship in as many weeks, coming off the Ouachita Baptist Tiger Tip-Off tournament. Brown’s team is again turning heads statewide this season with upsets over 6A Russellville and Watson Chapel at Mount St. Mary.

“These kids are amazing,” Brown said. “After losing six kids from last season, who’d have thought we’d be 6-0? They (my players) are a true team. They do the little things and they do it together.”