Momentum is an odd thing in sports. One second in can be going in your favor, and then just as quickly it can turn around and go against you.
The Sonoraville Lady Phoenix built a lead early and maintained it for three quarters on Tuesday night in their Class AAA Elite Eight matchup vs. Cross Creek at The Furnace. But the momentum swung the other way in a hurry as the Lady Razorbacks started the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run to erase turn a seven-point deficit into a three-point lead and never trailed again as they sent Sonoraville to a season-ending 51-47 loss.
Sonoraville (23-5) led 33-27 at the half and built up their lead to as many as 11 at 40-29 in the third quarter, but Cross Creek (23-2) stayed within striking distance by finishing the period strong to cut the deficit to 42-35 entering the fourth quarter. That’s when the Lady Razorbacks gained control as Jordyn Dorsey and Jenna Wilbon combined to score the first 10 points of the final period to turn the deficit into a lead.
From there, the Lady Phoenix battled and got back within two as late as the 1:36 mark in the fourth on a Lindsay Bowman bucket in the lane, but Cross Creek was able to get a clutch defensive stop and Michaela Bogans made 4-of-4 free throws in the final minute to seal the season-extending victory for the road team.
“It was one of those times where you could feel it starting to slip away, but I still felt like if we could get a stop and answer with a score we would be alright,” said Sonoraville head coach Stephanie Caudell of Cross Creek’s fourth-quarter run. “But they made some big shots to open the fourth quarter, and that’s a credit to them. They defended us well the whole second half, not just the fourth quarter. We definitely didn’t get the looks we got earlier in the game. And then (Dorsey) is the kind of player for them that puts the game on her shoulders. She’s a really good player, and she showed it in all night, but especially in the fourth quarter.
“It’s frustrating for sure. To lead the game most of the way and then let it slip, I hate it for our team. But you have to play for 32 minutes. You’ve got to finish. We weren’t able to do that tonight.”
Dorsey, a North Carolina A&T commit, showed her ability on the big stage as she finished with a game-high 28 points, including nine of those in the fourth quarter to lead the Cross Creek rally.
Bogans was also in double figures with 10 points, including an impressive heave at the end of the second quarter from past half court that banked in and cut Sonoraville’s lead to 33-27 at the half. Wilbon added seven for the Lady Razorbacks.
Bowman had the top total for the Lady Phoenix with 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Fellow senior Alexa Geary added 12 points, and another senior Matti Parker scored eight.
Sonoraville came out of the gates strong in front of their home fans as they built a 17-11 lead after one quarter, including hitting three shots from beyond the arc in the opening period. They continued that surge into the second quarter going up by as many as 11 at 29-18 before Cross Creek battled back in the closing minutes of the half to get the deficit back to six points on Bogans’ improbable shot.
“It was the way we wanted to start the game tonight for sure,” said Caudell. “We were moving offensively, being patient and taking good shots. When we do that, we’re a really good offensive team. We were able to get the energy going in the gym and get everyone fired up. But every time we tried to extend the lead, (Cross Creek) was able to stay within arm’s length. They made enough shots to stay close to us, and then that shot at the end of the half is not one you want to see but sometimes it happens.”
The loss brings to a close an incredible prep career for the large and talented Sonoraville senior class including Geary, Bowman, Parker, Abby Chambers, Brooke Jones, Kinsley Long, Raven Pasley and Kelsee Phillips. The group finishes with 87 total wins, three straight region titles preceded by a region runner-up finish as freshman, one Final Four appearance (as sophomores) and two consecutive Elite Eight berths.
“Just to have a season was a blessing with all the uncertainty over the summer and going into the season,” said Caudell. “And aside from Brooke’s injury, we stayed healthy and didn’t have anyone miss any games because of COVID. I’m so glad for this senior class that they got to have this season and the way they played all year. They have been incredible for us, there’s no other way to put it. I feel like I’ve watched them grow up. They’re not just good players. They are good people and good leaders. I hate this loss for them more than anything. We wanted to keep it going. But I couldn’t have asked for any better than what they’ve given us these last four years.”
Caudell added that even though she will hate to see her senior class go, she’s looking forward to seeing what the younger players can do to try to continue the tradition that has been set for Lady Phoenix Basketball.
“It’s going to be different next year without those seniors and having so much experience on the court,” said Caudell. “But it will be exciting at the same time. We kind of get to start over and see who will step up and fill roles for us. There are a lot of opportunities for these younger players to compete and continue this tradition. I hope that it’s as important to them as it was to these seniors. I have a feeling it will be. We’ve got some good younger players that will get their chance next year.”
Cross Creek advances to the Class AAA Final Four with the win and will take on another No. 1 seed in Lumpkin County in the next round on the road.
Cross Creek Girls 51, Sonoraville 47
CROSS CREEK (51)
Bogans 10, Dorsey 28, Holmes 2, Martin 4, Wilbon 7
Parker 8, Pasley 2, Bowman 14, Chambers 3, Geary 12, Long 4, Smith 4
C.C. 11 16 8 16—51
Son. 17 16 9 5—47
3-pointers – Cross Creek 4 (Bogans 2, Dorsey 2); Sonoraville 7 (Bowman 4, Parker 1, Chambers 1, Geary 1), Free Throws – Cross Creek 11-12; Sonoraville 6-8, Records –Sonoraville 23-5.