Southwest led 14-1 after a quarter of play, then expanded that to a 32-9 score at the game’s halfway mark.
The Lady Warriors used a 22-3 run in the third quarter to claim a 54-12 lead. Excel outscored its guests in the final quarter, 9-7.
Michael Roberson, Excel coach, said Southwest is a good team that is deserving of its lofty ranking because it challenged Excel with its speed and tenacity.
“When you face a team like that, you know you’re going to have to play a perfect game to have even a chance to win,” he said. “We’d throw the ball to an open teammate and they weren’t still open by the time the ball got there.”
Roberson said Southwest is No. 1 in private schools in Max Prep power rankings, which determine the state seedings in the playoffs. Darlington is No. 2.
Excel started slowly on the night, trailing 7-0 before Elise Miller sank the first of two free throws at the 3:17 mark to open scoring for the Lady Eagles to make the scoreboard read 7-1.
Southwest closed the frame with a 7-0 run to go up 14-1.
The Lady Warriors opened the second frame with a 4-0 run but Andrea Taylor hit two free throws just under a minute into the period and Excel trailed 18-3.
Taylor hit a bucket almost four minutes later to pull Excel within 28-5, then Miller added a deuce and the score was 28-7. Emily Willingham hit a shot from near the free throw line a minute later to help the Lady Eagles close the quarter trailing 32-9.
Excel scored three points in the third quarter and nine in the final frame to account for the final 61-21 tally.
The loss drops Excel’s record to 5-17 but closes the three straight games it plays against Region 6A-A’s top opponents — Southwest, Darlington and Gordon — who are all state powers.
The Lady Eagles close with Trion today and Mount Zion on Tuesday at home.
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