BLACKSHEAR — The ironic thing about the Lumpkin County girls' history-making tour, they made the trip through Macon to get to Pierce County.
Why is that ironic? Only one game now stands in the way to the official path to Macon as the Lady Indians held off two Pierce County charges en route to a 65-55 victory Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A tournament.
They'll head back to Dahlonega to play Cross Creek for a ticket to the state finals in Macon on Friday. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Freshman Averie Jones led the Lady Indians with 23 points, while Isabel Davenport hit for 17, and MacKenzie Caldwell added 10 points.
Lumpkin County recovered from two Pierce runs of 11-0 first quarter to go up 11-5, then Lumpkin to 11-10 before falling behind 15-10 by the end of the first quarter.
In a game of runs and back-and-forth battles, the Lady Indians opened the game on a 5-0 run, but the Lady Bears rolled on an 11-0 run in the first quarter to grab an 11-5 advantage. The Lady Indians, however, answered back on a 5-0 run to close the gap to one point, 11-10 late in the opening period. Pierce scored the final four points of the quarter to take a 15-10 lead.
It was much of the same in the second quarter until the Lady Indians went on a 9-0 spurt taking a 27-19 lead, but Pierce County responded with its own run, closing the gap 32-30 by halftime.
In the second half, the Lady Bears opened hot, extending the second-quarter spurt to a 42-35 lead midway through the third quarter and held a 44-41 lead at the end of the first 24 minutes of play.
Lumpkin County battled back from a seven-point third-quarter deficit to reclaim a 45-44 lead with 6:58 remaining in the game.
Davenport swished seven consecutive points to give Lumpkin County a 55-53 lead for good at the 2:57 mark. Jones later hit a 3-point basket to push the lead to five, then a 2-for-2 trip to the free-throw line with inside 35 seconds to answer Pierce’s final points, 60-55. Mary Mullinax and Lexi Pierce also converted on their 1-and-1 trips to round out the final scoring.