GREENSBORO – Their dream season had ended.
The Myers Park girls basketball players’ hopes for an undefeated campaign – and a coveted Class 4A state championship – had been wrested away by a West Forsyth team that was as determined and hard-charging as the Mustangs themselves.
Tears flowed. Eyes turned beet red. The agony of defeat hurt like a son-of-a-gun.
They had shot free throws poorly (7-of-17 for 41.2 percent) and fired field goals at an even worse clip (34.1 percent). West Forsyth took advantage of those things to eliminate the Mustangs from the Western Regional final, 43-40, at the Greensboro Special Events Center on March 3.
But 15 minutes after their only loss of the season, the Mustangs were determined not to take an emotional loss, too. So, as best as it could under the circumstances, Myers Park straightened its collective shoulders and focused on the many positive moments they’d created this season.
“We all grew to be a big family, and I feel great about that,” said senior center Roddreka Rogers, who had 12 points and 12 rebounds, joining India Timpton (10 points) in double figures.
“We all were gunning to get the championship, but stuff happens,” Rogers added. “I felt like we were going to make it, but we just had some mishaps. But I’m going to take all the undefeated games we had, and that’s going to stay with me forever.”
Added senior point guard Brittany Smith: “Being together and playing together as a family and making it to the place we are now, it just feels so good. And now that it’s ended …”
Her voiced trailed off for a moment.
“It hurts, but we’re going to be all right,” Smith managed.
The Mustangs (31-1) were one of the most discussed teams at this regional. Teams in other classifications clamored to watch them play, and college scouts kept a firm gaze during the action, whether their eyes were on Rogers or the many other prospects on the roster: junior India Timpton, sophomore Saadia Timpton or freshman phenoms Rydeiah Rogers and Aliyah Mazyck.
In the West Forsyth matchup, however, spectators rarely saw the Mustangs at their best. Saadia Timpton, the team’s leading scorer, fouled out with just two points – more than 10 below her average. Rydeiah Rogers also fouled out and had only four points. The normally sharp-shooting Mazyck made just two of her 10 shots and had five points. And the Mustangs were outrebounded, 36-26.
Despite the regional finals performance, first-year Mustangs coach Dustin Terrel marveled at how his players handled being the targeted team each time they took the floor.
“They’ve grown from a group of players to a stellar team,” Terrel said. “You definitely love walking in the gym when the players love each other and they’ll fight for one another and they aren’t just doing it for themselves; they’re doing it and fighting hard for each other.
“You’re always going to get everyone’s ‘A’ game when you’re undefeated. Everybody wants to be that one team to knock you off. It’s hard throughout the year to get every (opponent’s) 100 percent. It’s like Duke and Carolina – they’re getting everyone’s best. We happened to be on top this year and, unfortunately, we didn’t come through in the end.
“But to watch them come together throughout the year has been amazing.”