Daisja Cannon had to be helped from the floor Saturday after the final horn sounded.
Maybe she wanted to extend her final regular-season home game with the Battery Creek High School basketball team. Perhaps the emotion of the Dolphins securing another contest on their home floor was too much.
Most likely she had little left after helping Battery Creek erase a deficit down the stretch to defeat Academic Magnet, 37-33. The Dolphins earned the No. 2 seed from Region 6-AA and will play host to their first-round playoff opponent from Region 5 on Thursday.
Battery Creek closed the regular season with three consecutive victories and will start the playoffs on its home floor for the first time under coach Bernadette Ulmer.
Cannon led Battery Creek with 17 points. With 1:24 remaining, she dribbled to her favorite spot on the wing and calmly sank the go-ahead 3-pointer.
On the defensive end, the Dolphins' man-to-man pressure helped them come back from seven points down with 2:32 left.
"We basically said this depends on whether we have heart or not," said Cannon, who scored 12 of her 17 during the second half. "I guess we had heart."
Battery Creek (17-6 overall, 11-3 Region 6-AA) favors its zone but needed to force the tempo Saturday. Academic Magnet had led the entire way before Cannon's late basket.
The Raptors were held without a field goal the final 4:03, as Battery Creek hounded their ball-handlers.
"We just knew we had to play tough defense and just play aggressive," Ulmer said.
Battery Creek's Elizabeth Ford contributed five of her six points in the final two minutes. She had missed the first meeting at Academic Magnet -- a four-point Dolphins' victory -- with an injury and wanted to help Saturday by carving out space for offensive rebounds and trips to the free-throw line.
Academic Magnet (17-4, 10-4) had success early getting to the basket and making foul shots. Its mid-range jump shots were falling.
The Raptors led by seven at the half and seemed to have turned back a Dolphins' third-quarter run.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins seemed out of place at times in the man-to-man, failing to locate free players. They tightened up with enough time.
"I think that's what changed the whole game around," Ford said of the defensive pressure.
Cannon, who returned to the floor between games to be recognized with the Dolphins' other basketball seniors, forced Academic Magnet guard Choral Linhart into tough shots in the final minute. When Linhart drove for a potential tying basket with fewer than 30 seconds left, Cannon induced a fall-away shot from outside the key.
"When we have intensity, we have good defense; we win games," Cannon said.
Battery Creek girls 37, Academic Magnet 33
Academic Magnet (17-4, 10-4 Region 6-AA) -- Cara Pugh 11, Choral Linhart 9, Lily Schweickhardt 6, Hannah Waddell 5, Hunter Leckonby 2
Battery Creek (17-6, 11-3) -- Daisja Cannon 17, Elizabeth Ford 6, Brianna Tolbert 5, Taniqua Mungin 5, Maty Dearsman 2, Ericka Alston 1, Deja Moultrie 1
Battery Creek boys 57, Academic Magnet 40
Even with the region's second seed and a home playoff game locked up, Battery Creek boys basketball coach Antoine Youmans still had a goal for Saturday's game.
He wanted the Dolphins to hold Academic Magnet guard Tyre Moore to fewer than 15 points. Simple sounding, maybe, but Moore burned Battery Creek for 38 points in Charleston on Jan. 21. The Raptors defeated a flat Battery Creek team to start the Dolphins on a three-game losing skid.
Enter Devonte Wilson, the Battery Creek forward who volunteered to shadow Moore throughout Saturday's game.
Wilson's physical presence helped hold Moore to 14 points, and Battery Creek ran away with the regular-season finale.
"We kind of upped the ante defensively and challenged more players personally to execute at their positions," Youmans said. "Devonte took it upon himself to guard the best guy on the court."
The Dolphins will open the Class 2-A playoffs at home on Feb. 20. They already had clinched the second seed from Region 6-AA with a victory at Burke on Tuesday.
Academic Magnet (9-15, 6-8 Region 6-AA) -- Tyre Moore 14, Brendon Frankel 13, Ben Sewell 6, Peter Hogan 4, Ben Redden 3
Battery Creek (16-7, 11-3) -- Devonte Wilson 24, Adonis Williams 10, Cleveland Hampton 4, Jeffery Darden 4, Markell Smalls 4, Wendell Roberson 3, Raheem Cooper 2, Christian Brown 2, Tyion Brunson 2, Tyrone Dilbert 1, Eric Freeman 1