Class 6A: R5 #1 Woodstock 55, R8 #4 Grayson 34
(Contributed by Brandon Michea)
Unphased by a quick start from upset-minded Grayson, the Woodstock Lady Wolverines used a late first-half surge to carry a six-point edge into the break, then erupted with a 12-0 run in the opening minutes of the third quarter en route to a 55-34 victory over the Lady Rams in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state tournament on Tuesday, in Woodstock.
Seniors Kennedy Montgomery and Ashton Sutton paced the Lady Wolverines with 14 and 13 points, respectively, while junior Brittany Burnett netted 12 points, including eight in the third quarter alone.
After falling behind 7-2 early, Woodstock climbed out in front 16-14 by the end of the opening stanza, as Montgomery and senior Chandler Sutton combined for nine first-quarter points. Midway through the second frame, Grayson pulled even at 18, only to watch the Region 5 champion Lady Wolverines push back out in front, 26-20, by the half.
In the third, it was all Woodstock (25-3), with a three-point play by Burnett, an inside bucket by junior Kameryn Forrester and a Bralise Reese steal and give-and-go with fellow junior Taylor Reed highlighting the 12-0 spurt that led to Grayson head coach Tony Watkins burning his fifth and final timeout with 3:09 remaining – in the third quarter.
Held scoreless for nearly a 7-minute stretch, Grayson (21-8) finally got on the board with a pair of Destiny Newkirk free throws at the2:58 mark of the third, then converted its only field goal of the quarter, thanks to senior Essence Jordan, 1:30 later, cutting the deficit to 38-24. Montgomery, however, responded with a 3 and Ashton Sutton laid in a 2 in the closing seconds of frame to give WHS a commanding 43-24 advantage heading into the fourth.
The Lady Rams, who were led by 10 points from Jordan, could not narrow the gap any closer than 16 over the final 8 minutes, as Woodstock, making its fifth-straight state appearance, advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third time over that span.
Complementing the Lady Wolverines’ double-digit scoring trio, Reese chipped in six points and Chandler Sutton had five.
Newkirk and fellow senior Jessica Ewing finished with six points apiece for Grayson.
Next up for Woodstock, which is seeking its first state quarterfinals berth in program history, is a date with Region 1 runner-up Colquitt County this weekend. The Lady Packers (18-10) knocked off North Cobb, 45-41, in the opening round.
Courtesy of Sandy’s Spiel and Craig Sager II
R5 #2 Cherokee 53, R8 #3 Dacula 46: The Lady Warriors flexed their muscle against the bigger and more athletic Lady Falcons, scoring a seven-point win. Lacie McCoy led Cherokee with 15 points while Kaleigh Karl (12), Laiken Wade (11) and Havyn Wilson (9) all chipped in. Cherokee plays either Tift County or Hillgrove in round two.
R7 #3 Mountain View 46, R6 #2 Northview 41: The young Lady Titans fell behind by 17 points early but battled back to take a fourth quarter lead before falling to Mountain View. With only three seniors on the team, the future looks bright for Northview. Freshmen led the way once again for Coach Chris Yarbrough’s team as Maya Richards scored 18 points and Ashlee Austin added 12. Over the course of the year, Austin broke the school record for points scored for a freshman. Junior Shannon Titus is the third piece of the puzzle, setting school records for steals and blocks in a season before ending the season in the first round. Mountain View gets the winner of Tucker and Campbell, a Wednesday night affair.
R6 #1 West Forsyth 65, R7 #4 Mill Creek 51: Host West Forsyth jumped to a 42-24 halftime lead after outscoring Mill Creek 23-12 in the second quarter. Mill Creek answered with a 20-9 scoring advantage in the third quarter to make it 51-44, but a key three-pointer by Jane Ortlip stopped the scoring run and put West Forsyth up 56-47. This is Lady Wolverines’ the first playoff win in program history. University of Maryland signee Jenna Staiti dominated with a 35-point performance, while adding 12 rebounds and three blocks. West Forsyth teammate Brooke Pirkle added 10 points and dished out five of the team’s 19 assists.
R4 #1 Dutchtown 56, R1 #4 Harris County 43: Kamera Harris recorded 12 blocks through the first three quarters, including five in both the first and third quarters. Sophomore forward Jordan Maney netted 10 first half points to give Dutchtown a 35-23 lead. The Bulldogs were outscored 12-3 in the third quarter as Harris County cut the lead to 38-35, but they responded with a 18-8 advantage in the final frame.
R8 #1 Flowery Branch 58, R5 #4 Lithia Springs 50: First year head coach Courtney Newton received another balanced effort from her Lady Falcons. Taniyah Worth went for 19 points and eight rebounds while Julianne Sutton posted a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Maddie Hetzel chipped in eight points from her guard position while Kierra Knight added six points and six boards.
R8 #3 Gainesville 69, R5 #2 Hiram 66 OT: In a nip and tuck game, the Red Elephants managed to push Hiram to overtime before stealing the game in the extra period. Tied at 28 at halftime, in the fourth quarter the Lady Hornets began to make their move and push their lead to five six points, 51-45 with 3:10 remaining. Gainesville responded with a 14-8 run to tie the game at 59 to force overtime. Taylor Hawks (25) and Shikiya Brown (19) combined for 44 points to rally the Elephants.
R6 #1 Southwest DeKalb 65, R7 #4 Rome 22: A 16-0 run in the first quarter buried the Lady Wolves at Southwest DeKalb. The state’s No. 1 ranked team, the Lady Panthers, opened up a 29-5 lead heading into the second quarter following Daisa Alexander’s 15 points. Alexander finished with a game-high 21 points. Jada Walton netted 14 points in the rout. They now face R2 #2 Cross Creek in round two, the Lady Razorbacks coming off of a 86-54 blowout of South Effingham.
R2 #3 Warner Robins 53, R3 #2 Glynn Academy 32: Warner Robins took the three hour trek down to Brunswick, Georgia to take on Glynn Academy, both teams holding top ten rankings entering the showdown. In the end, it was the Demonettes getting the best of the Terrors. Shynia Jackson posted 14 points and six rebounds while Keiza Holmes harassed the Glynn Academy guards, picking up eight steals and three blocks to go along with her 14 points.
R8 #4 Winder-Barrow 53, R5 #1 Villa Rica 32: The Lady Wildcats’ home court advantage didn’t seem to matter much as the fourth-seeded Lady Bulldoggs from power Region 8 wiped away any ideas of a first round exit. 6-foot-4 sophomore Olivia Nelson-Ododa was too much inside finishing with 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Tiera Mayweather added nine points. Villa Rica star freshman Deasia Merrill entered the game averaging 25.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.9 steals per game from her forward position. The Lady Doggs held her to just 14 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-20 shooting. Winder-Barrow led 9-6 after the first quarter before pushing its lead to 23-11 at the half and 40-24 heading to the fourth quarter.
R6 #1 Marist 41, R7 #4 Gilmer 34: Host Marist built a 24-19 lead at the half and held Gilmer to just five points in the third quarter to grow the lead to 32-24. Marist senior Dominque Oden dominated the game with 28 points, seven rebounds and five steals.
R4 #1 Mt. Zion-Jonsboro 67, R1 #4 Monroe 51: Tyeisha Juhan continued her offensive onslaught, this time taking the big stage of the state tournament to do her damage. The senior averaging over 25 points and nine points per game, exploded for 41 points, 12 rebounds and seven steals. The Lady Bulldogs face either defending state champion Buford or Whitewater in round two.
R7 #2 Northwest Whitfield 61, R6 #3 St. Pius 48: Bria Clemmons scored 16 of her team-high 18 points in the first half and the Lady Bruins sank six first half threes to take a 35-17 lead at the half before cruising into the second round. Whitley Brooker scored 13 points and Holly Heath added 10 to blow past the Golden Lions. Chandler Hiland chipped in nine points in the win.
R8 #1 North Oconee 64, R5 #4 Troup County 50: Camryn Williams led four Lady Titans in double digits with 19 points. North Oconee is fresh off a Region 8 championship over perennial power Buford, 54-51.
R7 #2 Dawson County 71, R6 #3 Calhoun 54: After falling in the Region 7 championship game to upstart West Hall, the Lady Tigers rebounded with an impressive win over the stingy Yellow Jackets. Haley Burgess poured in five three-pointers en route to 19 points to lead the Tigers. Karlie Bearden added 17 points and Kaylee Sticker stuck 15 points. Coach Steve Sweat’s team drilled 11-of-25 threes and sank all 10 free throw attempts. Jana Johns, the Region 6-AAA Player of the Year, scored 20 points and collected eight steals in the loss. Sydnie Parker finished with nine points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
R2 #2 Kendrick 81, R3 #3 Hephzibah 57: Four days after Peach County snapped Kendrick’s 21-game winning streak in the Region 2-AAA championship (78-73), the Cherokees engineered a team win as five players finished in double-figures. Brittany Thompson got the scoring started with nine first half points to build a 32-25 lead. The Cherokees used an 18-6 run in the final four minutes of the third quarter to grow a commanding 56-38 lead entering the fourth quarter.
R6 #1 Sonoraville 66, R7 #4 Banks County 46: Becca Cheeks powered the Phoenix with 20 points to advance to round two where they will face R2 #2 Kendrick. Evie Delp scored 19 points and Abby Connally netted 12 points on her birthday.
R8 #1 Rabun County 81, R5 #4 Bremen 41: Senior guard Bailey Dillard hit a pair of early three-pointers to build a 15-5 lead for Region 8 champion Rabun County. The Wildcats took a 26-12 lead into the second quarter and ballooned a 45-25 halftime lead with a 65-34 edge heading into the fourth. Rabun County’s (24-3) current win streak sits at 22 games.
R6 #2 Wesleyan 86, R7 #3 Darlington 36: Mikayla Coombs, Amaya Register and Cairo Booker combined for 45 points, all scoring 15 apiece to lead the Lady Wolves on their search of state championship No. 12. Jameson Kavel notched 12 points in the win. Wesleyan meets R2 #1 Vidalia in the second round.
R6 #1 Holy Innocents’ 82, R7 #4 Dade County 36: Four players cracked double figures for Coach Tony Watkins’ Golden Bears. Shai Blanding and Erika Cassell both scored 16 points in the win. Kennedy Suttle added 15 and Kaila Hubbard chipped in 13.