Mooney went cold from outside the arc in a 44-41 loss to Westminster Academy
Cold shooting from three-point range doomed the Cardinal Mooney High girls basketball team to a loss in the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 3A state championship game on Friday night at Lakeland's RP Funding Center.
The Cougars (19-7) went two for 18 (11.1%) from outside the arc against Westminster Academy (27-5), including an 0-for-13 start. Westminster hit seven of 15 three-point attempts (46.7%). The Lions' efficient outside shooting was enough to give Westminster a 44-41 victory.
Both teams started slow — Westminster led 5-2 after the first quarter — and both teams picked up the pace in the second quarter, though the Lions were able to extend their lead to 22-16 by half time.
It was 31-24 at the start of the fourth quarter when Mooney began its comeback effort, led by junior Jordyn Byrd, who had eight points in the quarter. Mooney got within two points of Westminster at 42-40 with 41 seconds remaining, but could not find a basket to tie the game. On what turned out to be Mooney's final possession, the Cougars attempted to get the ball inside to get within one point instead of going for the tie. The ball was stolen by Westminster and the clock ran out.
"At the beginning of the game, I think we were a little tight," Mooney head Coach Rico Antonio said. "We were just settling for perimeter shots and they were not going in. Normally we are a pretty good shooting team."
Byrd led the Cougars with 12 points. Freshmen Kali Barrett and Sy'monique Simon each had eight points and junior Olivia Davis had seven points.
Westminster freshman Maddie Wallhoff had 15 points, going four of six from three-point range, to lead all scorers.
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