The shot was good, but the clock expired, and Cherokee held on for a 56-55 victory Saturday in the Region 5AAAAAA championship game at Roswell.
Cherokee (27-1) led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, but Woodstock (21-7) battled back to make a game of it.
Makensie Block scored six points in the fourth quarter, and Kennedy Montgomery made a pair of 3-pointers that helped the Lady Wolverines close the gap.
In the end, however, it wasn’t enough as a free throw by Jenna Brannen — her only point of the game — proved to be the difference.
Cherokee, with its 21st straight win, came out with the 14th region championship of the program’s 57-year history. It was the fifth title for coach Matt Cates.
“(Region titles) just don’t happen very often,” Cates said. “People remember you when you do. It was a worthy opponent and a heck of a game. It’s tough to beat a good team three times.”
Cates said his team made mistakes, but, in the end, stepped up.
“We missed some free throws down the stretch, but they played with a lot of heart,” he said. “They have done that all year, so it was well-deserved.”
Aunesha Williams, who was named the Region 5AAAAAA player of the year following the game, led four Cherokee players in double figures with 17 points.
Morgan Darby and Sarah Byers — both named to the all-region team — each scored 14 points. Kiana Howell, also an all-region player, added 10 points.
Woodstock played from behind the entire game.
Cherokee jumped to an 8-0 lead behind the shooting of Darby and Williams before Block was able to put Woodstock on the board with 4:40 left in the fourth.
A 3-pointer by Montgomery made it 12-11 before Young tied it from the free-throw line to end the first quarter.
Woodstock took its first lead of the game, 25-23, when Carolyn Edwards made her only basket of the game with less than 2 minutes remaining in the first half. It was short-lived, however, as Darby put the Lady Warriors up 28-27, and a steal and layup by Williams made the score 30-27 at the break.
Cherokee started to pull away in the third quarter thanks to six points by Williams and another 3 by Darby, who made four 3-pointers in the game.
Cherokee led 43-35 after three quarters.
Another Montgomery 3-pointer opened the fourth quarter as Woodstock charged back into the game.
Woodstock coach Julie Crowe said her team just didn’t do enough of the little things right.
“We came back and got a couple of three-point plays, but we didn’t execute a couple of plays that were drawn up,” she said. “I think we gave up 10 offensive boards in the second half.”
Woodstock also got into foul trouble early and had to sit a few players including, Montgomery and Brianna Lakes.
Block led Woodstock with 19 points and nine rebounds. Montgomery finished with 13 points, while Lakes had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Block, Young and Lakes were named to the all-region team, as was Etowah’s Shakyna Payne.
Cherokee will host Brookwood, the No. 4 seed of Region 8AAAAAA, on Tuesday. Woodstock will welcome Central Gwinnett.