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Friday July 1st, 2022 7:15PM

Girls playoffs: Lumpkin girls' resilience has pushed them to the semifinals

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

DAHLONEGA — In two of the three basketball state tournament games, the Lumpkin County girls had to battle back.

And on Tuesday, they found themselves down on the road at Pierce County with three of their four starters playing with four fouls with four minutes to go.

What happened? The Lady Indians went on a 19-3 run to pull off the win, 64-55, and advance to the Class 3A semifinals -- the first in program history.

It's that type of resilience that Lumpkin County has shown throughout, not only the state tournament but the entire season.

"What makes our group special is a resilience and refusal to give in," Head Coach David Dowse said. "Even against Pierce County, we were down seven with just over four minutes left and had three starters with four fouls and went on a 19-3 run. That's not coaching, that's just some kids that are determined not to let it slip away. Really, that resilience has been the difference for us."

Nevertheless, the second-ranked Lady Indians will have their hands full with No. 4 Cross Creek. The Razorbacks like to play pressure defense, allowing just 32.6 points per game this season. But Lumpkin County's offensive output is No. 2 in Class 3A and knows how to handle the pressure.

Of course, freshman Averie Jones, seniors Isabel Davenport and Makenzie Caldwell and sophomores Mary Mullinax and Lexi Pierce can handle the pressure situations and make good things happen on offense.

"Cross Creek is a big and athletic team ... a team that is very skilled in all five positions, and very disciplined and incredibly well-coached," Dowse said. "I know they'll try to pressure us, but I'm OK with that because we've got five on the floor that can handle that." 

The Razorbacks rolled through the first two rounds against Appling County, 64-21, and Americus-Sumter, 54-41, but had to pull it out late against third-ranked Sonoraville in the quarterfinals, 51-47.

North Carolina A&T commit Jordyn Dorsey, who averages 22 points per game, led the Razorbacks with 28 points in the come-from-behind win against Sonoraville in the quarterfinals. They'll also have to slow freshman point guard Michaela Bogans, who averages 10.5 points per game and knows how to run the court. 

"She's a special player," Dowse said about Dorsey. "They also have a freshman point guard that runs the show and plays a lot older than her age and is really talented."

Dowse also said Cross Creek likes to press and has the size inside to rebound (three starters 5-foot-11), so slowing the transition game and limiting the Razorbacks on the offensive boards will be key.

"We've got to keep them off the glass and limit them to one shot," Dowse said. "We've also got to slow them in transition because they like to get out and run a little bit. We've got to attack the pressure, win the transition game or at least slow them in the transition game and limit them to one shot. If we can do that, then we've got a really good chance."  

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