CLARENDON — The Carlisle Lady Bison were in position to knock off Brinkley in the finals of the 2A-6 district tournament Saturday.
However, Brinkley’s Lauren Carroll hit a running jumper with 0.5 seconds left to give the Lady Tigers a 63-62 win and the district championship.
Carlisle, led by Faith Walker’s 46 points, led 62-60 following a three-point play by Walker with 16.6 seconds left.
Carroll then drove to the basket and was fouled with 8.1 seconds left. She made 1 of 2 free throws but the Lady Bison lost the rebound out of bounds. That led to Carroll’s game-winner.
Carlisle called a timeout with 0.5 seconds left but could not get off a shot.
“I was proud of the kids for the way they competed,” Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo said. “They gave themselves a chance to win the game. It didn’t end the way we wanted it to. We did some good things in the game but we turned the ball over too much.”
The Lady Bison are in a similar spot as they were a year ago when they lost to Hughes in the district tournament final. Carlisle then beat England in the first round of the Class 2A East Region tournament and qualified for the Class 2A state tournament for the first time since 2009.
Carlisle will host Poyen in the first round of the regional tonight at 7 p.m. at Bison Arena. If Carlisle wins, it will play in the semifinals Friday at 7 p.m. The third-place game is Saturday at noon; the title game is Saturday at 6 p.m.
If the Lady Bison beat Poyen, they will play in the state tournament next week at Hampton High School.
“I went into the locker room and said ‘ladies, we were in the same situation a year ago but you still get to play next week and still play with a chance to go to the state tournament,’” Buffalo said. “’As much as this hurts, we’ve got to turn around and get ready for it.’”
Carlisle will play Poyen for the second time this year. The Lady Indians beat the Lady Bison 48-42 in the fifth-place game of the Benton Harmony Grove tournament in December.
“We came up a little short that day … it’s an opponent we are somewhat familiar with,” Buffalo said. “They are a very well-coached basketball team by Mickey Shaffer, who has won several state championships. We look forward to the challenge.”
In the loss to Brinkley, Carlisle got off to a quick start, leading 17-10 after one quarter and 36-28 at halftime. The Lady Bison led 53-41 early in the fourth quarter before Brinkley went on an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to 53-52 with 6:03 left.
In addition to Walker’s 46 points, Bre’Ana Young had 11. Rachel Jones added a three-pointer while Morgan Walter had two.
Carlisle advanced to the finals with a 39-26 win over Hughes in the semifinals Friday.
The score was tied 26-26 after three quarters. Walker then scored all 13 Carlisle points in the final eight minutes as Hughes was held scoreless.
Walker led the Lady Bison with 28 points. Young scored five. Walter had three. Kayla Golleher added a free throw.