Unfortunately, the Bears’ offense never got going and Lynn’s inaugural Final Four appearance came to an end with a 40-27 loss at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.
Lynn, which saw its 22-game winning streak come to an end, shot just 16.9 percent from the field on the night and were 0-16 from three-point range. Keith capitalized on the offensive miscues, out-rebounding Lynn 50-38.
Lynn scored just four points in each of the first three quarters as Keith slowly pulled away for the 13-point victory.
The Bears never held the lead. Keith scored the first five points and held an 11-4 advantage after the first quarter. Things only got worse for Lynn, which fell behind by 11 points midway through the second quarter and never mounted a rally.
Keith dominated the paint behind the play of 6-foot-2 fowards Lyteisha Phillips and Harriet Winchester. The duo combined for 19 points and 24 rebounds while holding Lynn’s top offensive weapon Jackee Dodd to 13 points on 6-of-20 shooting.
“I think at times their length bothered us,” Lynn coach Adam Gray said. “ It caused us to adjust our shots. They blocked some shots too. Their size was probably the biggest problem for us.”
Winchester led the team with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Phillips added five points and nine rebounds.
“The size advantage was the difference,” Keith coach Cecil Williams said. “With them only having one post player we were able to focus on her. If we would have played her one-on-one, we probably would have had two players foul out just because she’s so strong in the paint.”
Dodd led Lynn in scoring with 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Reagan Tittle contributed with six points and six rebounds, Lindsey Tompkin added four points and both Emma Easley and Brooklyn Beck had two points.
Lynn was held scoreless for the first six minutes of regulation before Dodd scored all four of the team’s first period points.
Lynn’s offensive struggles continued in the second period, with Keith holding a 7-4 scoring edge to take an 18-8 advantage into halftime. Both teams’ defenses held strong in the third period, with Keith outscoring Lynn 6-4 for the 24-12 lead.
The two offenses put up good numbers in the fourth period, as Keith outscored Lynn 16-15 — leading to the 40-27 final.
Lynn finishes the season with a 31-2 record.
Gray said Tuesday’s loss doesn’t diminish what his team accomplished. The Bears have gone 87-6 over the last three years.
Dodd and Tompkin are seniors on this year’s squad.
“The very first day I had them, they were both in the ninth grade at the time,” Gray said. “I didn’t think we would be very good. Here we are, years later and we’re playing in the Final Four. When you look at how far they’ve come, they should be proud of what they’ve accomplished. They’ve won a lot of big games. Once this loss wears off, they will be able to look back at what they did accomplish and be proud of it.”
Notes: Tuesday’s loss snapped Lynn’s 22-game winning streak. The Bears hadn’t lost since a 41-37 setback against Good Hope in mid-December. ... The game also marked the final high school contest for Dodd and Tompkin. Both players scored more than 1,000 career points and Dodd finished just 13 shy of 2,000 career points. ... In their four years, the Bears have gone 14-14, 26-2, 30-2 and 31-2, reaching the regional tournament all four years. ... Keith is the only Final Four participant in the 1A girls bracket that has won a state title. Keith won titles in 1983 and 1990.