Basketball season ended for Central Arkansas Christian’s Lady Mustangs on Thursday with a 64-59 loss to Valley View in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A State Tournament.
The Lady Blazers had also ended CAC’s season one other time — in the semifinals of the Class 3A State Tournament at Riverview 13 years ago.
Steve Quattlebaum’s team closed 25-9.
"We played a pretty good game, but at the end we made turnovers and gave it away," he said. "We had a five-point lead three minutes left and gave it away. We had that trouble all year.
"Turnovers — we were just one good ball-handler away from being really good all year. And we just never really sold them on playing good man-to-man defense. We gave up 64 points, and when Prairie Grove beat them in the semifinals, they scored 36. We’ve got to get to where we play better defense. We’ve got to sell them on how important that is."
The Lady Blazers improved to 27-3, building a 22-16 lead after one quarter and maintaining the advantage at the break, 31-27. The Lady Mustangs used a third-quarter rally to take a 50-45 edge heading into the final period, but Valley View outscored them by 10 points (19-9) in the last eight minutes.
CAC had three players in double figures. Falan Miller led with 21 points; Sydnie Jones and Sarah Butler added 17 apiece. Butler made five 3-pointers.
"With three in double figures, you’d think you’d win that game, but when you give up that many points and have that many turnovers, you don’t," Quattlebaum said.
Valley View fell to Prairie Grove in the semifinals and will face Malvern, the Lady Mustangs’ 7-4A foe, for the state title at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Barton Coliseum.
The Lady Mustangs knocked off Maumelle in the first round, 60-55. The Lady Hornets built a 14-10 lead after the first quarter, but CAC erased that with a 21-9 advantage in the second quarter for a 31-23 halftime lead. The Lady Mustangs led by 48-32 after three quarters, but Maumelle closed with a flurry, scoring 23 points in the final period to draw within 60-55.
Sydnie Jones and Falan Miller led CAC with 27 and 19 points, respectively. Sarah Butler added eight. Maumelle got 17 points from Kamry Orr.
Of the 12 teams who will face off for state championships this week, the Lady Mustangs have beaten two — Jacksonville (Class 5A) and Greenland (Class 2A) — and they came close against Malvern (Class 4A).
"We had Malvern beat but gave it away," Quattlebaum said, referring to the regional. We should’ve beaten North Little Rock (which fell to Northside in the Class 7A state semis).
"But again, it was a good year. I just really felt like we had a chance to go all the way, be playing in the last game. We just needed a little luck, and I thought we got it with the draw."