BUFORD — In a battle of highly-ranked teams, Class 6A No. 1 River Ridge held off Class 7A No. 4 Buford, 53-51, on Saturday at The Buford Arena.
It was the first loss of the season for the Lady Wolves (15-1). The Lady Knights (14-5) led from start to finish after opening the game with a 16-7 first quarter run.
Buford was able to stay close in the second quarter and trailed 30-23 at halftime. The Lady Wolves pulled within 43-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
But Buford could not get the lead as River Ridge was able to hold down the stretch.
Mataya Gayle paced River Ridge with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and added 2 blocks as well. Makayla Roberson added 12 points and 10 rebounds, Joy Tchamabe had 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks and Sophia Pearl had 11 points for the Lady Knights.
Ava Grace Watson paced Buford with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. Taylor Romano had 10 points and 4 steals and Corin Killian added 9 points, 13 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 blocks for the Lady Wolves.
Kedria Young's play in the third quarter sparked a 12-2 run and a rally to the lead for the first time since Caloni Young's 3-point basket to start the game.
The run pushed the Lady Red Elephants to the lead, 29-25, and eventually charging ahead 10 points, 37-27, off a Caloni Young bucket with 2:01 left in the third period.
But Lanier wouldn't go away, taking advantage of Gainesville turnovers and missed baskets in the final minute erase the 10-point lead and take a 41-39 advantage at the end of the quarter.
Kedria Young, along with Jones, Julia Payne and Caloni Young went back to work in the fourth quarter, leading the Lady Red Elephants back to the lead. Payne and Kedria Young hit two foul shots each to pushed Big Red back in front, 50-46 with 3:55 left.
Gainesville (14-1, 3-1 Region 8-6A) extended its lead to five points with 30 seconds remaining, but Asja Howell answered with a 3-pointer to cut Gainesville's lead to 55-53 with 5 seconds left. Gainesville held on in the final 5 seconds to get the win.
The win lifts Gainesville to second place in the Region 8-6A standings.
Kedria Young finished with a game-high 24 points. Caloni Young chipped in 13 points, and KeKe Jones had 8. Nalani Gainey led the Lady Longhorns (10-7, 2-2 Region 8-6A) with 14 points.
Gainesville plays host to region foe Jackson County on Tuesday.
TOWNS COUNTY 53,
The Lady Indians stayed unbeaten in Region 8-A Division 2 Subregion A with a blowout win over the Lady Tigers on the road.
Towns County (9-6, 4-0 Region 8-A D2 Sub A) never trailed in taking its fourth straight win.
Brelan Sieveking and Kaleigh Beaver each scored 14 points for the Lady Indians.
Towns County next will play host to Greene County on Tuesday in region play.
WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 57,
LANIER CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 18
LCA was overpowered on the road on Saturday.
The Lady Lightning fell to 9-9 overall with the loss.
Ellie Roberts led LCA with 7 points, Camille Hoffmann had 5 points, and Olivia Peloquin and Abigail Oakley both had 3 apiece for the Lady Lightning.
LCA will play host to Westminster Christian Academy on Tuesday.