North Little Rock’s attempt at a consecutive 7A state title fell short last Saturday.

The Lady Charging Wildcats (28-3) rallied from a 31-15 halftime margin to Fayetteville (30-2) to pull within 51-46 with 1:56 remaining in the contest. North Little Rock ran out of steam and suffered a 59-49 setback to finish 7A runners-up.

Since the inception of 7A, no team has won the girls’ title for consecutive years. Several teams have had chances, but the feat has yet to happen.

“It’s tough, and that’s the reason why no one has done it,” North Little Rock Coach Daryl Fimple said after the contest. “Getting here is very special, and it’s tough to get here.”

Like the Lady Wildcats have done throughout the season, they fell behind early. The largest deficit in the first half was 27-11. Throughout the season, they have also recovered, but this time the deficit and pace of the game was too much to overcome.

“I’ve never been more proud,” Fimple said. “We battled and fell short. Fayetteville is so good. The kids kept fighting even though they were so tired. If we could have gotten off to a decent start, it would have been a heck of a game.”

Fortunately for North Little Rock, it returns its entire starting lineup except senior guard Mackenzie Tillman. On the other hand, Fayetteville is a senior-laden team and losing the majority of its team except for freshman Sasha Goforth, who led all-scorers with 19 points.

“It hurt,” Fimple said. “That will motivate us, and we are going to be back.”

Goforth was named the game’s MVP after scoring 19 points. Morris had 18 points, also pulled down 13 rebounds for North Little Rock.