With a little under a minute to play, Chapel Hill coach Chris Long shouted to his team to slow down.
In other words, Long was reminding the Panthers game clock was their biggest enemy with an 11-point lead against Alexander.
The Panthers were able to beat the clock and Alexander 75-61 in a key Region 5-AAAAA game on Saturday night at home. It marked the final regular-season home game for the Panthers, who play three games next week on the road.
“This win was really big for us,” Chapel Hill senior Lauren Owen said. “We just came out and played as a team. We fought hard as we could for the win.”
Chapel Hill swept the two-game series between the two rivals. With the win, the Panthers improved to overall 11-11 and 7-8 in the region while Alexander dropped to 8-13 and 7-8.
On Friday, the Panthers dropped a two-point decision at Allatoona.
“We definitely needed this game,” Long said.
The Panthers can credit a hot fourth quarter stretch for the win. With the score tied at 44-44 entering the final period, Chapel Hill outscored the Cougars 31-17 to cruise to the win.
“We had a good shooting stretch,” Long said. “The girls listen to what we were trying to do and that allowed us to pull away. We took what the defense was giving us, and that is what you have to do. It was just a matter of what team would withstand the emotions of the game, and deal with those emotions.”
Chapel Hill was led by Jazmine Lawrence, who had 23 points and 12 rebounds while Alexia Wallace added 20 points. Taylor Ramsey scored 17 points for the Panthers as Jasmine Golden finished with nine points and 12 rebounds.
Kiara Watson had 21 points to lead the Cougars as Alliee Pattillo finished with 14 points and Sarah Bergman had 10 points.
Chapel Hill players agreed that the fourth-quarter was the deciding factor in the game.
“We took control of the game,” Owen said. “We knew what we had to do to get this win. It will definitely boost our confidence going into the final week of the season.”
Despite the loss, Alexander coach Adam Watts is still confident in his team’s ability. The Cougars only have one senior in their rotation.
“The group is going to be fine,” Watts said. “We are still building and maturing as a team. I feel we still got a chance as a team. It is going to be an exciting tournament. To have two teams combine for 136 points is good for a girls game.”
Alexander had seven players to score in the contest, which it lead for the first two quarters.
“I saw a lot of consistency out there tonight and that is what we have been lacking,” Watts said.
“That fourth quarter got pretty ugly,” Alexander junior Dria Thomas said. “We just got to work harder to get the win. We just have to go as hard as we can in the fourth quarter from here on out.”