FARMINGTON -- Pulaski Academy held Harrison scoreless over the final 2:37 to earn a spot in the Class 4A girls state tournament semifinals.
Taylor Fernandez gave the Lady Bruins the lead for good in the final minute, and Riley Smith came up with a pair of key defensive plays to help Pulaski Academy to the 49-44 victory over the Lady Goblins on Friday evening in Cardinal Arena.
The Lady Bruins (28-3), the No. 3 seed from the East Region, advance to take on Star City (31-0) on Saturday night at 6 in the semifinals.
Fernandez, a 5-5 sophomore, drained a three-pointer with 47 seconds left to give Pulaski Academy a 45-44 lead. Smith then came up with a huge steal, and Isis Woods blazed a path down the floor to make a layup to push the Lady Bruins' lead to 47-44 with 25.6 seconds remaining.
Smith came through with another steal by cutting off a Harrison drive. The sophomore added two more free throws to set the final score and send the Lady Bruins forward.
Pulaski Academy Coach Rick Treadway couldn't have been more proud of his team.
"Their effort was phenomenal," said Treadway, who is in his ninth season at Pulaski Academy and 38th overall. "Defensively, we had to keep switching up. They're good. We just kept battling."
Senior Jazmene McMillan led all scorers with 25 points for Pulaski Academy. Fernandez finished with 14.
"The thing that made me really proud is we preach defense, and that's what won the game at the end, getting some hands on the ball, blocking out," Treadway said.
The Lady Bruins lost four key contributors from last year's team, which lost in the quarterfinals, but Treadway said these girls have done their jobs.
"This group has stepped up to the plate, made some plays," he said. "Their theme this year has been, 'Be he First' because PA has never won a state championship in girls basketball. I know we've got a long way to go, but here we are."
Harrison (27-5) built a four-point lead in the when Mariah Hudson hit two free throws with 2:37 left, but the Lady Goblins wouldn't score again. Brynn Oleson was Harrison's lone player in double figures with 10.
STAR CITY 61, SOUTHSIDE BATESVILLE 49
Arriana Johnston scored 21 to lead undefeated Star City (31-0) into today's semifinals.
Breanna Grayson added 14 points for Star City, which led 33-28 at halftime and 49-39 after three quarters.
Southside Batesville pulled within eight early in the fourth quarter before Star City pulled away. London Cuzzort scored 16 points and Reese Gardner 12 to lead Southside Batesville (25-7).
Sports on 03/07/2020
Print Headline: PA shuts down Harrison in end