The team faced a steep 30-21 deficit with just three minutes left in the game. ASD head coach Paul Kulick called a timeout to help his team gain some momentum and the plan worked. Tuesdae Dunklin came up with a steal and ensuing layup to cut the lead to 30-23. After Westminster’s Collins Mills made one of two free throws Te’Chana Dunklin and Tuesdae Dunklin made perfect back-to-back trips to the free throw line, after which the Lady Silent Warriors had trimmed the Lady Knights lead to 31-27 with still 2:25 remaining.
Later, Tuesdae Dunklin made an extended drive along the right baseline to set Debrah Wheatley up with an assist for an easy basket underneath the goal that brought ASD to within 32-29.
However, the team failed to generate any offense for the remainder of the game with Tuesdae Dunklin fouling out with 28.1 seconds remaining being perhaps the final blow with the team trailing 33-29. Westminster’s Anna Rebekah Richburg sank two free throws to seal the game.
In a game determined by just six points, missed free throws proved to be costly for the Lady Silent Warriors. The team was 15 for 32 from the charity stripe.
“All my players were awful tonight,” head coach Paul Kulick said. “I don’t know what happened. They did their best, but I don’t know. Free throws really killed us.”
In the first half, scoring came at a premium. Ashley Laster made one of two free throws, followed by a transition layup assisted by Tuesdae Dunklin to give ASD an early 3-0 lead.
Olivia Godfrey put Westminster on the scoreboard with an inside shot off-the-glass to make it 3-2. By the end of the first quarter, ASD held a narrow 5-4 advantage. Westminster held a 10-4 second quarter advantage, giving them a 14-9 halftime lead. Mills made a huge 3-pointer to give Wesminster a 14-7 lead. The Lady Knights held a sizable height advantage, but as Kulick pointed out, that never seemed to be a major factor in the game’s outcome.
“They played good; it didn’t matter about the height,” he said. “We just played awful; they played better. That happens; the team lost. We’re sad but hey, what can you say? We’re finished.”
Westminster was able to build a double-digit lead in the third quarter by finishing the quarter on a 7-2 run. Mills had a steal and ensuing layup. After ASD made only one of four free throws, Richburg had a rebound and put back. ASD again made only one of four free throws, while Mills knocked down a jumper for Westminster. With just 2.7 seconds left in the quarter, Kelly Ciganek fouled Makayla McDaniel, who hit one of two free throws to give the Lady Knights a 25-15 lead. The deficit was simply too much to overcome for the Lady Silent Warriors.
Tuesdae Dunklin led the team with 12 points and three assists. For her and the three other senior members of the team, it proved to be their final game.
“We have four senior players this year: Tuesdae Dunklin, Brittney Fisher, Ashley Laster and Debbie Wheatley, all four wonderful players,” Kulick said. “I can’t say enough. I’m going to really miss them when they’re gone. Tuesdae, wow, she is a big loss for our team. I’ll never find another girl like her. She’s played for 10 years.”
Mills finished as the game’s leading scorer with 15 points.
Westminster advances in the class 1A Area 7 tournament to play ninth-ranked host Winterboro Thursday with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.