MONTICELLO — The Drew Central girls basketball team did it again.
The Lady Pirates won their fourth straight 8-3A Conference championship defeating Fordyce, 44-33.
Even after the Lady Pirates gave up an 11-point lead in the third quarter, coach Michael Goad, who won the 2011 outstanding coach of the year award, was glad to see his senior players win their third straight conference title.
“Those seniors just went out on senior night and won their third straight conference championship,” Goad said after the game. “Its pretty emotional for them.”
The Lady Pirates never trailed and went on a 9-3 run to close the game.
Goad said he talked about turning up the defensive pressure after halftime, which the Lady Pirates led 15-14. The Lady Pirates used a 14-2 run to take a double-digit lead to start the third period.
Goad’s team led 36-30 with 2:53 left in regulation in which the Lady Bugs were battling back behind sophomore guard Lacie Hulse. Hulse scored 12 of her 22 points in the first half, but left the game after re-aggravating a hip injury she suffered against Smackover on Tuesday.
“She did a great job,” Goad said. “She tried to take the game over. She stepped up and played real well. She did a great job taking the ball to the basket and drawing contact and finishing at the rim.”
The quick burst to start the second half made the outcome predictable and allowed the Lady Pirates to begin thinking about making another run into the 8-3A District Tournament.
“That’s been their goal all year,” Goad said, “to win conference, win district, win regional and hopefully win the state tournament. That’s been their goal since junior high.”
According to Goad, his senior players haven’t lost a home conference game since they were in the ninth grade.
A loss and the Pirates would have been in a three-way tie with Fordyce and McGehee for first place. The Pirates split wins with McGehee earlier in the year.
“Our conference is very competitive,” Goad added. “All five teams have beat each other, so it’s been a competitive year and they’re a good ballclub.”
The Pirates were led by Kari Milton, who scored 10 points. Cierra Gardner added eight points.