HOT SPRINGS -- The dramatic rematch of last season's title game went down to the final seconds with Farmington reversing the outcome and winning the girls basketball Class 4A State championship, 65-61, Thursday.
Last season Nashville won 42-41 on a last-second 3-point shot, and the Scrapperettes again looked to a 3-ball in a key moment but the sheer effort of a hustling Jenna Lawrence to contest the shot created the slightest distraction and it wouldn't fall as the top two teams all season long in Class 4A battled to another fantastic finish at Bank OZK Arena in downtown Hot Springs.
"They were tough enough to handle the moment," Johnson said, describing dialogue during a timeout. "They're talking, they're not panicking, not yelling, not pointing fingers. It's 'we got this, be secure with the ball, sit down and guard your man, get the rebound, we can win this thing,' things like that. And you could feel it."
Lawrence capped her stellar high school career with her fourth appearance in the state finals. The future Arkansas Lady Razorback was named MVP of the Class 4A State tournament after scoring 15 points and pulling down 9 rebounds. She also had two steals and four blocked shots, but it was a blocked shot she didn't get that may have preserved the lead for Farmington.
Nine seconds after tying the game, 59-59, on Lauren Carver's putback with 1:18 to play in the fourth quarter, the over-aggressive Scrapperettes wiped out Farmington point guard Reese Shirey, dumping her face first onto the hardwood. Shirey made both shots of the bonus, almost silently setting off the depth charges that sank Nashville's hopes.
Trailing by two, Nashville got the shot it wanted but when Jessie Lyle released her 3-point attempt, Farmington's 6-feet-3 Lawrence lunged at her, she missed and the rebound went out of bounds and was awarded to Farmington.
The play originated with Caroline Dean, who led Nashville with 15 points on 7 of 11 shooting. She could have taken a three when Shirey, her defender, fell down, but opted to pass off.
With Farmington inbounding at the far end, Nashville lined up defensively but the Scrapperettes neglected to box out when the Lady Cardinals broke their full-court press. Lawrence missed a 13-foot jump shot but first Zoey Bershers, then Lawrence, pounded the offensive glass. Lawrence's second try found the hoop.
Instead of taking the lead, Nashville's 21-5 run that brought the Scrapperttes from 16 points down in the third quarter ended and Farmington secured a 4-point cushion.
Nashville coach Paul Dean called time-out with 23.5 seconds showing and the Scrapperettes got a clutch basket by Kyleigh Scoggins, who hit a runner to make it a one possession game. Paul Dean called another time-out with the clock down to 12.2 seconds.
Farmington sank 2 of 4 free throws in the closing seconds to seal the 65-61 win and claim its second Class 4A State girls basketball championship since 2020.
"We've gotta give credit to Farmington because they made enough plays to win the game," Paul Dean said. "At the same time, we could've laid down and given up, but we didn't. We kept on fighting and competing, and the next thing you know, it's tied up."
The Lady Cardinals advanced to the Class 4A State finals each year since sharing the 2020 state crown with Star City during a controversial covid year when the state finals got canceled, finishing as state runner-up to Harrison in 2021 and suffering heartbreak on Sidney Townsend's late 3-pointer in 2022, but they prevailed in fine fashion this year and wear the crown of state champions once again.
Nashville head a four-minute lead in the first quarter, but a Lady Cardinal 21-4 run flipped that on the scoreboard.
Farmington led after every quarter, 18-14, 37-27, and 54-46, leading up to the 65-61 final.
Farmington 65, Nashville 61
Nashville (29-4): Caroline Dean 7-11 0-2 15, Shalyn Lyle 4-10 6-6 14, Kyleigh Scoggins 4-15 3-3 12, Lauren Carver 3-11 1-2 7, Jessie Lyle 3-5 0-0 7, Kaivonna Perkins 3-6 0-0 6, Olivia Dean 0-6 0-0 0. Totals 24-64 10-13 61.
Farmington (35-1): Marin Adams 8-12 4-6 22, Jenna Lawrence 6-15 2-3 15, Reese Shirey 5-7 3-4 15, Kaycee McCumber 2-5 1-2 5, Hannah Moss 1-6 0-0 3, Zoey Bershers 0-2 3-4 3, J'Myra London 1-1 0-0 2, Morgan Uher 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton Denham 0-0 0-0 0, Kamryn Uher 0-0 0-0 0, Zaina Vanlandingham 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-48 13-19 65.
3-Point Goals -- Farmington 6-15 (Shirey 2-3, Adams 2-4, Lawrence 1-4, Moss 1-4). Nashville 3-18 (Jessie Lyle 1-3, Caroline Dean 1-3, Scoggins 1-4, Shalyn Lyle 0-3, Olivia Dean 0-5).
Rebounds -- Nashville 36 (Carver 8), Farmington 36 (Lawrence 9). Assists -- Nashville 5 (Caroline Dean 3), Farmington 7 (London 2, Adams 2). Steals -- Nashville 13 (Shalyn Lyle 3), Farmington 9 (Shirey 3). Blocks -- Nashville 5 (Carver 2, Scoggins 2), Farmington 9 (Lawrence 4). Turnovers -- Nashville 11, Farmington 18.