GAINESVILLE – This one was close.
Greater Atlanta Christian’s Kennedi Williams hit the backend of two foul shots to lift the Lady Spartans past North Hall 58-57 in the Region 7-3A championship Saturday night at North Hall.
“They’re upset and we’re upset,” North Hall coach Kristi House said. “But, we get in the (state) tournament playing better than we have all season."
Ansleigh Ferguson was a threat all night and when she was tagged with four fouls in the third, she changed her approach and still had a big impact inside for the Lady Trojans (18-9). She ended the night with a game-high 26 points.
“We know that she has that in her every single night and just love having her on our team,” House said. “Seeing that effort from her tonight and the way she handled it, being mentally tough and playing aggressively without fouling.”
Maci Gillespie had 12 points and Grace Hollifield scored 9 for the Lady Trojans.
After a back-and-forth first half, which ended with North Hall up by two, 28-26, the Lady Trojans pushed their lead up to 30-26 early in the third period off a Ferguson bucket.
Then, the back-and-forth commenced, again. The third quarter had two ties and five lead changes before GAC took a 47-43 lead at the end of the period.
In the fourth quarter, Ferguson and Maci Gillespie guided the Lady Trojans on a 7-0 spurt, closing the gap to 52-51 with 4:35 left. But, GAC would push it up to four, 56-52, when Williams scored with 1:27 to go.
North Hall's Rylee McCall answered the Williams' basket with a 3-pointer 20 seconds later to cut the Spartan lead 56-55. GAC's Ava Irvin hit one of two foul shots with 1:06 remaining to extend the lead to two points, but Ferguson’s shot tied the game with 54 seconds to go, 57-57.
GAC missed the next trip down the floor, allowing the Lady Trojans a chance to take the lead on their next possession. House called a timeout to set the play, but the Trojans didn't execute, giving the Lady Spartans the win from the foul line.
“I’m glad we stuck to our game plan and hung around,” House said. But, it’s so disappointing for our kids to be that close. For us to be playing that good going into next week, I feel great about it.
North Hall will host North Murray in the first round of the Class 3A tournament on Friday at 6 p.m.
DAWSON COUNTY 77
CHEROKEE BLUFF 61
Kaylee Sticker scored 35 points and Marlie Townley had 14 to lead the Lady Tigers past Cherokee Bluff in the third-place game of the Region 7-3A tournament Saturday at North Hall.
Dawson County (20-9) outscored Cherokee Bluff 27-10 in the first quarter and led 46-25 at the half.
The Lady Bears couldn't overcome the first-half deficit. Nonetheless, Bluff outpaced the Lady Tigers 36-31, led by Maddie Thomas with 18, Timber Gaither with 15 and Chelsea Reece scored 14 in the second half.