MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The formula has been the same for the Spalding Lady Jags basketball team lately - play flawless basketball for a few quarters, but break down in one quarter to lose the game.
The same scenario happened in the Lady Jags’ first-round state AAA playoff game Friday night against the No. 2 state-ranked Baldwin Lady Braves and Spalding fell to them 54-47.
Spalding ends its season with a record of 19-8, losing its last three games. Baldwin led 16-10 after the first quarter, but Spalding led 31-27 at the half, thanks to a major burst by Lady Jags sophomore Elem Ibiam, who led Spalding with 17 points, nine rebounds and 7 blocks.
“Elem was scoring on them at will in the first half,” said Spalding head coach Demetrius King. “The girls went away from her in the second half.”
The Lady Jags also suffered through another single-digit drought in the third quarter and Baldwin took the momentum to regain the lead. The Lady Braves outscored Spalding 15-6 in the third and led 42-37 going into the final period.
Spalding got within two points several times in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Jags just couldn’t over the hump. They missed a few wide open lay-ups and putbacks and Baldwin took advantage, getting points on the offensive end to stay ahead of Spalding.
Shay Williams had 16 points, four assists and three steals and Kadesha Matthews chipped in 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks for Spalding.
“We just couldn’t climb that mountain in the fourth,” King said. “We had a commendable season, but we were expecting much more. I’m looking forward to working with the girls in the summer.”