clear
Tuesday August 4th, 2015 1:21AM

7-AAA tournament: Lady Warriors advance to state for first time since '02

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
BUFORD -- Despite trailing North Hall 16-11 at halftime, White County coach Buster Brown said they had things right where they wanted them Wednesday night in their first round Region 7-AAA tournament matchup.

Sort of.

The Lady Warriors were used to getting off to rough starts only to stage a second half rally. They executed the plan perfectly using a 13-3 third quarter to grab the lead and then held off a late North Hall rally to take a 37-32 win at the Buford gym.

"That's the way a lot of our games have gone this year," Brown said. "The first half was a stinker. But we're used to that. It wasn't pretty but we made some plays when we needed to."

The win for the Lady Warriors (16-10) puts them in the Class AAA state tournament for the first time since 2002. Brown said the moment wasn't lost on his group, which was barely in grade school the last time White County advanced.

"They knew it had been a while and we talked at halftime about did they want to be the senior class to change things," he said. "They found a way. But really, Paige Thomas decided to get aggresive in the second half and that was the key.

"This is big for them and the program. We're excited about making it to the state tournament. Hopefully we can have some success."

Thomas, a sophomore, poured in 16 of her game-high 20 points in the second half. She ignited a quick 6-0 run to start the third quarter for a 17-16 lead and then put the Lady Warriors ahead for good with a basket late in the quarter for a 21-19 lead.

Thomas would then score White County's first six points in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 30-23.

"We had trouble getting the ball inside in the first half but she just went right at the defense," Brown said.

North Hall, which at one point in the third quarter had more turnovers (22) than points (21) was not done, however. The Lady Trojans went on a 9-3 run over the next three minutes, sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from Alli Staub, to pull within 33-32 with 1:01 left in the game.

But Thomas would hit a layup to extend White County's lead to 35-32 just 10 seconds later and North Hall would miss two 3-pointers and commit two more turnovers with a chance to tie the game.

Kaitlin Wilson would sink two free throws for the Lady Warriors with 29 seconds left for the final margin.

Perhaps fittingly, North Hall, which committed 28 turnovers for the game, committed two more on its final two possessions.

Nix would finish with 11 points to pace North Hall (14-12). Staub added six for the Lady Trojans.

Cassie Carter had 10 rebounds for White County.

The defenses dominated the first half. The two teams combined for nearly as many turnovers (21) as points (27) with North Hall leading 16-11 at halftime.

North Hall's Jordan Nix got things started with a 3-pointer in the opening minute but it would be nearly four minutes later before White County's Kaitlyn Gearing scored the Lady Warriors first basket to make it a 5-3 North Hall lead.

Neither team could find an offensive rhythm as they combined to shoot less than 20 percent in the first half. The Lady Trojans took an 8-5 lead into the second quarter and extended it to 13-7 on two free throws by Taylor Phillips midway through the period.

White County would cut the lead to 13-10 on a 3-pointer by Thomas but North Hall would close out the half with a 3-1 run.

North Hall had 11 turnovers but outrebounded White County 16-13. White County had 10 turnovers in the first half.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
Sports
Big Red Shootout: Buford foils Lady Elephants' upset bid in finale
Buford junior Camille Anderson knows to forget about the past during games.
11:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Boys basketball: Knights rebound with win over Centennial
The Johnson boys bounced back after a loss to Grayson on Friday with a 94-72 win Saturday night over Centennial in the Duluth Jingle Jam.
10:43PM ( 1 year ago )
Girls basketball: Dawson falls in Battle of States finals
Dawson County fell behind early and could not complete the comeback in a 70-65 loss to Hayesville, N.C. in the championship game of The Battle of the States Tournament Saturday night.
10:38PM ( 1 year ago )
High School Sports
Softball: Area teams try to build on resurgent 2014 season
After several down years as a whole, girls softball began a resurgence in 2014 that saw 12 teams advance to the state playoffs and two -- Buford and Dawson County -- advance to the Elite 8 in Columbus.
11:23PM ( 22 hours from now )
Falcons' Julio Jones hoping for new contract before season
After losing a few pounds in the offseason, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones believes he is stronger and more explosive...
10:04AM ( 8 hours from now )
Braves keep rallying, Garcia HR in 12th beats Giants 9-8
Adonis Garcia hit a two-run homer in the 12th inning off Ryan Vogelsong and the Atlanta Braves completed their final comeback of the game, beating the San Francisco Giants 9-8 Monday night.
11:39PM ( 1 hour ago )
Mateo wins debut in G-Braves win
The Gwinnett Braves won a battle of home runs on Monday to beat the Rochester Red Wings 3-1 and give right-handed starter Victor Mateo a victorious Triple-A debut at Coolray Field.
By AccessWDUN staff
10:47PM ( 2 hours ago )
SEC spares no expense in hiring 14 new coordinators
Alabama coach Nick Saban and his staff always devote some offseason time to studying new offensive and defensive coordinators, just perhaps not quite this much.
9:27PM ( 3 hours ago )