NASHVILLE -- Nashville Coach Paul Dean didn't know what to expect out of Magnolia going in to Sunday's regional final, but he knew he was going to get a great deal of effort from his red-hot ballclub.
The Scrapperettes gave him that and more in front of a deafening crowd at Nashville Arena.
A blistering second-quarter run opened the door for the Scrapperettes, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, to walk away with a 57-26 victory over the Lady Panthers to win the 4A South Region title.
Lauren Carver posted 15 points to guide Nashville (30-2), which got offensive contributions from several to win its 30th game in a row. Yet it was the Scrapperettes' defense that paved the way to their win over a team that came in averaging nearly 65 points over its first two games of the tournament.
But Dean wasn't quite sure how things would unfold, especially early on.
"I'll be honest, I really didn't know what Magnolia was going to do," Dean explained. "They're very fast, very big and very athletic. Coach [Shanae] Williams does a great job, and she coaches to the kids she has. They all perform and excel at a very, very high level.
"Shoot, I was really just praying it didn't get too bad for us because Magnolia is a really, really good team."
Instead, it got tough for the Lady Panthers, particularly in that second quarter.
Magnolia (22-5), which came in ranked No. 5 in Class 4A, scored the first points of the quarter on a lay-up from Shayla Doss with 7:31 left to cut a 15-9 Nashville lead down to four. But Kyleigh Scoggins drained a three-pointer on the other end to start a 16-0 run for Nashville. Carver had seven points during the spurt, including a nifty basket along the baseline to give Nashville a 31-11 lead.
The Lady Panthers, who turned the ball over four times during that Nashville flurry, finally stopped the surge on lay-in from Bracelynn Glover with 1:59 to go in the half. But that long scoring drought proved costly and provided Nashville the opportunity it needed to break free.
"These kids have worked hard all year," said Dean, whose team led 35-15 at halftime. "They focus, they try. ... I've really been proud of their effort all year long. That's the biggest thing about it all, their effort has just been tremendous."
Dean was especially happy with the way Aaliyah Hollins played against the Lady Panthers' front line. The sophomore scored 11 points and kept several possessions alive by either running down loose balls or corralling rebounds inside.
"She's got a lot of ability, a whole lot," Dean said. "What she did [Sunday] did not surprise me one bit. We've got so many juniors and seniors that can play that she's at the end of the line as far as that goes. But when she gets her opportunity, she steps up every time.
"Any time she gets that chance, she performs well."
Doss opened the third quarter with a three, but a bucket from Carver began an 11-1 run that allowed Nashville to run away with a win.
Scoggins turned in 12 points and Sidney Townsend had seven points for Nashville.
Doss scored 13 points and Glover ended with eight points for Magnolia, which was held to its lowest scoring output of the season and had its 16-game win streak snapped.
STAR CITY 66,
BAUXITE 59, OT
Marshay Johnson connected for 15 of her 22 points in the second half to catapult Star City (23-7) to a come from behind win in the third-place game.
Hope Thomas tallied 17 points and Anslee Ballew had 11 points for the Lady Bulldogs, who trailed by 16 points in the third quarter. Thomas scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to help send the game into overtime where Star City outscored the Lady Miners 7-0.
Abby Beene had 16 points and Gracie McDade scored 15 points for Bauxite (23-11), which took a 34-20 advantage into the third period. Sara Bethany Harrell tossed in 13 points and Layla Patrick contributed nine points.
WATSON CHAPEL 53
Derrian Ford's three-pointer with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter gave Magnolia (26-0) a lead it wouldn't let go of during the regional championship game.
The University of Arkansas signee had 24 points, including 11 over the final eight minutes, for the Panthers, who were behind by as much as 11 points in the first half. Watson Chapel (20-9) led 46-44 in that fourth period before Ford's three started a game-ending 16-7 rally.
Nevi Tell had 14 points and Devonta Walker scored 11 points for Magnolia, which has beaten the Wildcats three times this year.
Jaylyn Jones hit four three-pointers and finished with 16 points for Watson Chapel. Antwon Emsweller, who battled foul trouble in the second half, had 15 points and Christopher Fountain tossed in 10 points.
FOUNTAIN LAKE 30
James Elgas and Antoine Palmer scored eight points each for Arkadelphia (25-4), which beat its 4A-7 Conference mates to take home third-place honors.
Ryan Harris added seven points for the Badgers, who had lost two of the previous three meetings with the Cobras this season before evening the series despite scoring just six points in the fourth quarter.
Landin Kizer had 13 points and Evin East chipped in with eight points for Fountain Lake (28-4), which was held to four points in the third quarter and trailed 27-20 at the start of the fourth.