AUGUSTA -- The Lady Bulldogs of Thomson High School pressed the host Eagles of T.W. Josey High School down to the buzzer, but came up short Friday, 40-38.
Coach Michael Williams said "a few defensive breakdowns" led to the loss.
"We had an opportunity late in the game but we couldn't capitalize," he said.
Nekia McNair led Thomson in scoring with 16, including six 2-pointers and a three. The other scorers were: Sharlette Farmer, 7; Ke'Onda Bradshaw, 5; De'Shia Dunn, 4; Lakeedia Cooper, 2; and Jada Lawson, 2.
The Eagles' Kenay Phillips led all scorers with 23 points, including three 2-pointers, three 3-pointers, and 11 of 14 from the free-throw line. CounJess Gibson, 7; Shaniqua Sullivan, 4; Damien King, 2; Takeme Prince, 2; and Laporsha Wells, 2.
Fouls and free throws spelled the difference in the score. The Eagles committed just five fouls, and the Bulldogs shot 1-for-4 from the line. The Bulldogs had 17 infractions, and the Eagles hit 18-for22 from the line.
Josey moved ahead 12-9 at the first stop, held 20-17 at the half, and widened the margin 31 to 25 after 3. A frantic fourth quarter saw the Bulldogs knot the score at 36-36 with 2:20 on the clock. A foul at 1:13 sent Phillips to the line, where she drilled both shots. She added another seconds later, and Thomson's McNair put the Bulldogs back within 1. Josey took possession on a jump ball at 27.2 seconds. A fast foul sent Josey to the line for 1. Thomson inbounded the ball at 5.6 seconds, and a long pass to McNair found the Bulldog tied up as time expired.
Coach Williams said a few instances of "not being alert" made the difference in the final score.
The Bulldogs played their last regular-season home game of the year Tuesday, playing host to Grovetown.