Kimi Carter seized the moment and put the Barbers Hillsâ€™ girls qualifying for the 2012 state high school basketball tournament into perspective.
â€śI picked a great year to be a freshman,â€ť she said. â€śI canâ€™t imagine anything better.â€ť
Carter and her teammates limited high-scoring and previously unbeaten Beaumont Ozen (34-1) to a season low 39 points and ran away to a 66-39 victory in the Region III-4A championship game at the Campbell Center. Barbers Hill (38-3) dictated the pace and forced Ozen into a half-court game where 6-foot-4 post Kendall Shaw could control the defensive board. Guards Makenzi May, Shannon Evans and Carter were able to handle Ozenâ€™s pressure defense and kept turnovers to a minimum.
The Lady Eaglesâ€™ rotating defense also proved to be suffocating for the stateâ€™s No. 1 ranked Class 4A school. â€śWeâ€™re known for utilizing ball pressure and I guess they werenâ€™t used to people being up close to them,â€ť Carter said. â€śInstead of going up to half court where they can cross you up and go in for a layup, we started back at the three-point line. â€śWe actually scouted them a whole bunch so that really helped,â€ť Carter said. â€śWe knew what to do and we came in on a mission and were able to nail our game plan.â€ť
Barbers Hill watched Manvel try to run with Ozen a day earlier in the regional semifinals and the Lady Panthers rolled to a 71-61 victory. The Eaglesâ€™ plan was to work the ball around for good shots and spread the Ozen defense using Shaw in the high post.
â€śTransition defense was the No. 1 thing,â€ť Barbers Hill coach Kit Martin said. â€śThey get a lot of scoring opportunities on long passes following made baskets so we had to make sure we didnâ€™t give that up. â€śThe second thing was handling their press,â€ť Martin said. â€śOur guards did a fantastic job of passing and moving the ball up the floor. We didnâ€™t let them create offense from their defense.â€ť
The Eagles won three state championships in Class 3A. This is the schoolâ€™s first trip to the state tournament as a 4A school.