HOT SPRINGS — The first two minutes of the game and the last two of the first half were too much for Mountainburg to overcome Saturday in Hot Springs.
Spring Hill’s Rachel Medina scored 18 of her game-high 24 points in the first half as the Lady Bears beat the Lady Dragons, 67-44, in the 2A Girls State Championship Game at Summit Arena. Medina was crowned the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Spring Hill (35-0) completed its first perfect season in school history by doing what it has done all season — turn lazy passes into easy layups. The win capped an emotional two weeks for the school and community, coach Laura Kidd said.
“We’ve had a lot of tragedy to deal with the last few days,” Kidd said. “We had an eighth grade girl at our school take her life last week; she was a cheerleader and had played basketball. We’re a very, very close-knit community.
“Yesterday, Bailey (Yocum), her grandmother passed away at the end of practice. It’s a blessing that’s carried this team through.”
The Lady Bears didn’t seem distracted by the recent events and charged ahead, 11-2, behind Medina’s 10 quick points. But Mountainburg crept to within six at 25-19 when the Lady Dragons got the benefit of an errant bounce — something that didn’t happen often.
Colette Ross ran down a long rebound and fed a wide-open Kaylyn Moore, who hit a 3-pointer.
But Spring Hill outscored Mountainburg 16-4 over the final 4:42 of the first half for a 41-23 halftime lead.
“They got two or three turnovers after that and I thought they stripped Tara (Webb) a couple of times,” Mountainburg coach Dan Garringer said. “If the call had gone our way, you never know. That’s not necessarily the reason we got beat, but that’s the reason they pulled back ahead of us.”
The Lady Dragons (32-3) outscored Spring Hill, 12-11, in the third quarter but were still down 19 late in the third when they made one final charge.
Auburn Peters’ bucket with 3:39 left capped a 13-6 run and pulled Mountainburg within eight at 56-44.
“We never gave up,” Peters said. “It was a lot to overcome, but our girls, we never gave up. We knew at that point we wanted to leave it all on the floor.”
Spring Hill then finished off Mountainburg the way it started — with an 11-0 run.
“It’s the greatest feeling to me, that all of our hard work paid off,” Medina said. “We would go in early in the mornings when most teams aren’t up yet.”
Spring Hill’s Jamie Nance finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. The Lady Bears outrebounded Mountainburg 36-30.