Troy 62 Perris 59
By G. Montgomery
Perris - Perris Head Coach Marvin Williams brought his Sophomore Guard, Brittany Smith in for an early shoot around.
I had her shoot for about an hour this afternoon, talking to her, telling her to let it go (shoot more) we know she can shoot the ball and we want her to do it more said Williams.
Williams message must have come through loud and clear. Smith entered the game with the Panthers (21-9) trailing by 2 and let it go. Smith hit 4 of 4 three-point attempts scoring 12 points in the first quarter.
Led by Smiths red hot shooting the Panthers took an 18 - 13 lead at the end of the fist quarter and had the defending Division II-AA state champions reeling. I never shot around before the game, said Smith. After the shoot around with Coach everybody was telling me that they had confidence in me, so I decided to bring it out of myself. Smith scored 16 points in the first half.
Despite Smiths performance, Troy (28-1) was able to stay close and take a 29-27 halftime lead on the final shot of the half.
Opening the second half the defending Division II State Champions showed what it takes to win titles . Troy was able to keep the ball from getting to Smith and control the third quarter. Troy lead by 7 late in the fourth with 3:00 minutes left in the game.
Still the Panthers refused to go quietly and pushed to within 2 points with 0.54 seconds remaining in the game.
The Panthers Brandy McCann missed a three point shot with 0.17 seconds remaining that could have won the game. Troy's Rheya Neabors made one free throw with 0.16 seconds remaining to make the score 62 - 59. The Panthers final desperation three point attempt feel short as the buzzer sounded.
We did everything we could, they are a good team, they are big, said Williams, were undersized, we play six people and were small. When the game gets close, they pound it inside and thats very hard when you are our size. Losing only one senior from the starting lineup, you can expect to see Coach Williams and the Panthers back in the mix next season.
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