Rockmart girls’ coach Andre Clark knew Coosa was capable of surprising his Lady Jackets if they weren’t careful.
Tuesday evening saw the host Lady Eagles make some of those moves in a Region 7-AA contest at The Eagles’ Nest, but Rockmart’s Keyarah Berry eventually took things into her own hands to give her team the 62-43 win.
Berry, who is one of the top scoring basketball players in the state, scored 40 points, including all of the points in a 14-0 third quarter run that all but sealed Rockmart’s victory.
But that’s not how things began for the visitors, as Coosa grabbed the momentum early, feeding off of 3-pointers from Maddie Shell and Mary-Kathryn Broadway to go up 14-6 before Rockmart closed in on the lead and trailed 14-9 after the first quarter.
“Well, this is one of the things we’ve been dealing with all year. Some first quarters, we just don’t show up,” Clark said. “And I told him before they came in here, because I kind of looked at the scores. Where they (Coosa) were losing by about 20 or 30 early in the season, they started closing that gap. So I was like, this team’s got better. We better show up and not have a flat first quarter.”
Rockmart’s missed shots early on starting falling in the second quarter as Berry was getting fed by her teammates inside, and the Lady Jackets took a 28-23 lead into halftime.
Coosa (1-10, 0-7 7-AA) got a good start to the second half and took a 32-30 lead on a trey from Broadway three-and-a-half minutes into the third, but then Berry started her big run to pull Rockmart right back ahead.
Berry finished 14-of-15 from the line and scored all 16 of her team’s points in the second quarter. Teammate Megan Little had 13 points. Emma Evans and Logan Adams each had four points.
“She’s been pretty much that girl that has carried us to where we need to be,” Clark said of Berry. “We lost Megan for the first five or six games you know, and we’re sitting here at 6-1 in the region and we didn’t have our second all-region player for most of the season.”
Coosa was led by Jordan Roberts’ 12 points despite fouling out midway through the final quarter. Broadway finished with 10 points, and Paris Woodard had six.
Coosa coach Robby Dooley said his players’ performance showed that they can play with the teams in the region, but they have to develop the mindset that they can win.
“We were on a high we’re on a high, and then all of a sudden they go on a run,” Dooley said. “I’ve told these girls that basketball is a game of runs. They’re gonna go on a six, eight point run. We can go on a six or eight point run, but It’s all about the attitude.”
Rockmart (11-5, 6-1) was up 44-34 at the start of the fourth period before putting together one final push for a 9-2 run that gave the Lady Jackets a 53-36 lead.
Clark said he bragged to the team about their passing after the game.
“We probably had more assists tonight than we have had all year to be honest with you,” Clark said. “We began to trust one another, share the basketball with each other, so that chemistry is pretty tight knit right now. They get along well and everybody likes each other, which is always a plus.”
Rockmart will travel to Chattooga on Friday, while Coosa hosts Gordon Central.