A second half scoring drought and too many missed free throws doomed Gulfport against Murrah in the MHSAA girls Class 6A quarterfinals Saturday at Jackson State University.
The Lady Admirals led 36-30 midway through the third quarter, then went 8 1/2 minutes without a field goal, resulting in a 59-52 loss.
It didn’t help that Gulfport missed 17 of 28 attempts from the charity stripe.
“We had a few gimmes underneath that we didn’t finish when we should,” Gulfport coach Brooke Glass said. “Gulfport has never made it this far. To play in this atmosphere on this stage, the pressure of the moment got to us.”
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During the drought, Gulfport was outscored 25-4, turning a six-point lead into a 15-point deficit.
Gulfport has not been a good free throw shooting team this season — 50 to 55 percent according to Glass.
“We have been diligently working on it trying to improve,” she said.
Glass said the second half shooting drought was the worst the Lady Admirals experienced this season.
“A lot of our offense usually transpires from our defense,” she said. “That was our game early on, but later... I don’t even know.”
The highlight of the game for Gulfport came at the end of the first half when Dywana Parker sunk a buzzer beater from well beyond midcourt to give the Lady Admirals a 26-25 halftime lead.
“That was pretty big,” Glass said. “We got pretty excited going into halftime on that.”
Parker led Gulfport with 17 points and nine rebounds. Jerkia Mcinnis had 13 points and seven rebounds and Whitney Johnson scored 12 points. Jamaica Johnson had 18 points and 13 rebounds and Kacey Bradford 15 points and 10 rebounds for Murrah.
Despite the long shooting drought, Gulfport actually shot better than Murrah, 18 of 44 (40.9 percent) to 20 of 53. (37.7 percent).
Gulfport finishes 18-9.
“I think we overachieved from expectations at the beginning of the season,” Glass said. “I’m proud of every kid on the team. One of the officials made the comment that our kids are very polite.”
Murrah (29-2) is two wins from the school’s 11th state championship.