A week after winning their first district title in program history, Fort White’s magical season came to an end Thursday night in a 55-43 Class 1A-Region 3 Semifinals home loss to Lafayette (Mayo).
The Indians (17-3) entered the fourth quarter down 44-33 when they went on an 8-0 run to close within 44-41 with five minutes to play, but the visiting Hornets (20-4) capitalized on turnovers, transition baskets and five missed Fort White fourth-quarter free throws to close the contest.
“We knew defensively they were a good team and we had to take care of the ball and we had some possessions where we just didn’t take care of the ball,” said Fort White coach DeShay Harris.
Fort White jumped out to a 17-14 first quarter lead behind six points apiece from Israel Hart and Lisa Gall, but Lafayette bounced back and outscored the Indians 17-9 in the second quarter and went into halftime ahead 31-26.
“Our message today was chaos,” Harris said. “We wanted to create as much chaos as possible, that’s been our MO all year is playing really good defense, we just couldn’t convert on their turnovers and we missed a lot of layups and missed a lot of free throws.”
In the third quarter, after a long scoring drought for both teams, the Hornets continued to keep Fort White at bay by with 13 points to seven for the Indians.
N'Coreyia Atkins led Fort White with 14 points, followed Hart and Gall with 10 each, and Jacovya Major with nine.
Fort White entered the game on an 11-game win streak and earned its first district title last Friday with a 43-40 win over Bradford in the 1A-District 6 championship game.
Harris added he was proud of the way his young team—which loses only two seniors off its roster—continued to fight until the end.
“We had a great season and the future is bright, so let’s just keep our head up, remember this feeling and go forward,” Harris said.