Drew Central’s girls learn valuable lesson

If there’s one thing all coaches detest, it’s watching the athletes on their teams play like they’ve already won a game before it’s over. Drew Central girls’ coach Michael Goad is feeling that pain today.

And, hopefully, Goad said, so are the members of his senior high team.

Ahead by 11 points heading into the final period, the Lady Pirates hit the cruise control button just a bit early and saw Fordyce roar back for a 54-51 Class 3A, District 8 victory at Drew Central Gymnasium Tuesday night.

The loss dropped Drew Central to 2-2 in the league, 11-7 for the season.

“We started playing like we’d already won,” a dejected Goad said of his team’s effort against the Ladybugs. “I just hope we’ve learned our lesson.”

Fortunately for the Lady Pirates, they won’t have to dwell on their toughest loss of the season long. Camden Harmony Grove visits Drew Central Gymnasium on Thursday night to make up a contest that was postponed last Friday because of the expected Southeast Arkansas snow storm that never arrived. Three games (junior boys and both senior teams) begin at 5 p.m.

The following night, Drew Central starts its second trip through 8-3A with a trip to Smackover for three games (those same three teams), also tipping off at 5 p.m. On Jan. 12, Drew Central started league play with a 50-33 victory over the Lady Buccaroos in Monticello.  

Tuesday, the Lady Pirates were seemingly in control, up by 12 points in the fourth quarter, before defensive lapses allowed Fordyce to climb back in the game. After a first half that saw Drew Central hold its visitors to just 16 points in 16 minutes, the Lady Pirates allowed the Ladybugs to score 21 in just the final frame.     

When his Lady Pirates could manage only seven points in those same eight minutes, Goad watch with horror as a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, a 28-16 intermission advantage and a 44-33 strangehold at the end of three periods vanished.

Seniors Cierra Cardner and Payton Boykin were the lone Lady Pirates to reach double figures in scoring Tuesday night. Gardner had 27 points, which tied her second-best output of the year (her season high was the 36 points she scored against crosstown rival Monticello in a Drew Central win on Dec. 12, 2015; she also netted 27 points in a victory at Guy-Perkins on Jan. 5).

The two-time All-State performer now has 1,888 points in her four-year Drew Central career. Unfortunately for the Lady Pirates, Gardner was 0-for-3 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter against Fordyce after having gone a perfect 7-for-7 in the first three periods.

Boykin chipped in with 11 against the Ladybugs.

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