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Monday October 25th, 2021 10:07AM

Girls playoff basketball: North Hall faces hardest test yet in the 3A semifinals

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor
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Saturday's Class 3A girls basketball semifinal game will be the biggest game to date for the North Hall Lady Trojans, and even though a trip of the state title game is on the line, coach Kristi House says her team is made for this moment.

"I’m not concerned with this moment being too big for them at all," she said. "I think this team is made for this moment.  All we have been through together has prepared us for Saturday.  

At this point in the season, it is rinse and repeat for the Lady Trojans. Statically, they've beaten all three opponents, Pace Academy, Savannah and Morgan County by double digits. 

They'll have a shot at checking off another season goal on Saturday when they travel to Valdosta State University on Saturday to battle third-ranked Beach of Savannah in the state semifinals. Game time is set for 2 p.m. and can be heard live on 94.5 FM The Lake. Click here to listen.

"This team and these people have amazed me in all they have been able to accomplish this season," House said. "They are unselfish and humble. They deserve all the success that they have had this year."

North Hall will face a fast and athletic Beach team, which is no stranger to the state tournament, having only missed the state tournament twice since 1993. 

They've won it all twice, made four semifinal trips and one runner-up. Most recently, Beach won the Class 3A title in 2017, while making the semifinals last season. 

As for the Lady Trojans, they've only sat out of the tournament once since 2011, including making the semifinals in 2012. Overall, it's North Hall's third trip in the program's history to the Final Four. 

On the court, statistically speaking, the two seem to match up well on paper. 

In a side-by-side comparison, Beach averages just under 50 points per game, and North Hall is scoring 55 points per game.

On defense, the Lady Trojans are giving up 43 points per game, while Beach is giving up 35. 

House says they'll have to contain the Lady Bulldogs athletic guards off the drive and deal with big post play from Ameyah Dantzler.

Junior guards Kaila Rougier and Madison Evans combined for 23 points and 8 steals in Wednesday's quarterfinal win over Ringgold. Dantzler was powerful inside in the quarters, scoring 11 points and ripping down 18 rebounds. 
"They have very athletic guards and a physical post player who we will have to focus on," she said. "We will have to defend well and keep them off the boards, and handle pressure and shoot it well."

It's almost a given Beach will focus on sharp-shooter Grace Hollifield. She's averaging around 15 points per game but will go off at any time from 3-point land. 

But if they focus too much on Hollifield, House has the luxury of key outside play from Ansley Smallwood and Lauren Swanson. They also have quick guards Maci Gillespie and Rylee McCall that can hit from anywhere as well. 

"If they try to take her (Grace) out, I just feel like we have so many other people that can do," House said after the game on Wednesday. "We're OK with that and Grace is OK with that. She's such a great teammate; she doesn't care who scores as long as we do."

NEED TO KNOW/NORTH HALL VS. BEACH
-- WHEN: 2 p.m. 
-- WHERE: Valdosta State University
-- RADIO: FM94.5/AM1240 The Lake -- Click here to listen.
-- NORTH HALL (23-8): No. 1 seed Region 7; defeated Morgan County, 57-41, in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A tournament
-- BEACH (21-9): No. 2 seed Region 3; defeated Ringgold, 47-31, in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A tournament.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports
  • Associated Tags: High school basketball, North Hall girls basketball
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