It was difficult to discern Thursday which was colder: the temperature outside or the first-half shooting inside the Silverdale Baptist Academy gymnasium during the District 5-A girls' basketball game between Arts & Sciences and the Lady Seahawks.
Things never heated up outside, but they did inside. More precisely, sophomore wing Megan Lewis got hot, and her perimeter shooting was a key factor in Silverdale's 41-37 win with first place on the line.
Both first-year coaches, Silverdale's Tim Thompson and CSAS's Zach Dragoo, agreed that the combination of good defensive efforts and players being nervous with both teams coming into the game undefeated in the district were equally responsible for the total of 22 first-half points.
The Lady Seahawks missed all kinds of layups and made three field goals in the first half. The Lady Patriots made their first and last free throws of the half but missed the six in between.
CSAS led by two at the break.
"These girls work hard. They play hard," Thompson said. "We haven't won a ballgame as big as this. Everybody was a little nervous. This was a big game for us."
Lewis did not have a point at halftime, but she connected from the top of the key for a tying 3-pointer less than half a minute into the second half. She went on to make two more 3-point goals for the last points of the third quarter and another to start the fourth-quarter scoring. Right after that, freshman Emily Harkleroad's steal led to a Lewis layup that put Silverdale (20-1, 4-0) ahead 31-25.
"Things kind of turned when Lewis hit three 3s in a row," Thompson said. "She's a difference-maker for us."
Lewis made five 3s and finished with 18 points.
"We were very aware in the first half of what we were doing defensively," Dragoo said. "We were aware of where the shooters were. Then while they were on their run in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, we totally got away from what we were trying to do. And we definitely paid for it."
CSAS (10-12, 3-1) battled back from the deficit and made it 37-37 when Brooke Mitchell made both ends of a one-and-one with 1:49 to play. But the only scoring in the remaining time was 4-of-6 free-throw shooting by the Lady Seahawks.
"Every day we're about getting better," Dragoo said. "If we can take this and learn from it, we get another shot at them in a few weeks. Maybe it will be something that will make us better as a team."
Keturah Billen led the Lady Patriots with 15 points -- 14 coming in the second half.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or email@example.com.