Quarterfinal games for three local basketball teams

Fri, 02/29/2008 - 1:18pm
By: Michael Boylan

The Sandy Creek Lady Patriots defeated the Gainesville Lady Red Elephants 53-49 in overtime on Wednesday evening.

Sandy Creek led by 11 in the fourth quarter, but Gainesville came charging back to force an extra period.

Morgan Toles led the way for the Lady Patriots with 24 points, 10 of which came in the opening quarter. Kafi Hemphill chipped in 14 for Sandy Creek and Jaquaye Okai added 10.

The Lady Patriots will now take on Monroe Area (24-6) at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Mt. Zion, Jonesboro.

Four of Monroe Area’s Lady Hurricanes six losses came in 2007. In 2008, the girls are 15-2. Their last loss came on Saturday, Feb. 16, 54-42 against Franklin County. There are five seniors on the Lady Hurricanes squad, one of which is star point guard Brittany Kirkland. Kirkland has scored over 1,700 points in her high school career. Ashleigh Isaacson, Maya Brown, Dee Gober and Quatilla Byrd are the other seniors and all four show up in most games among those to score and or rebound in double digits.

Sandy Creek’s girls have also only lost twice in 2008 and their last loss also came on Feb. 16. The Lady Patriots have made it this far with a balanced attack offensively and solid defense. Jaquaye Okai has been red hot of late and Morgan Toles has set the pace for the team. Sandy Creek gets good performances from throughout their roster and has numerous different players step up when needed.

The winner of this game will make the Class AAA Final Four and will take on the winner of Hephzibah and Kendrick at the Macon Centreplex at 7 p.m. next Friday.

Fayette County’s Lady Tigers trounced Bainbridge 63-37 Wednesday in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs in Fayetteville to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1986.

Playing in front of Alabama coaches and a coach from Georgia Tech who were at the game to scout her, standout junior point guard Tessah Holt caught fire early. She tore apart Bainbridge for 10 of her game-high 21 points in the first quarter and enabled Fayette to head into the second quarter with a double-digit lead (16-6).

Their offense was carried by Holt, who focused more on distributing the ball than shooting it in the half, and forward Anma Onyeuku, who scored 17 points. And Fayette’s defense went on to hold Bainbridge to its lowest scoring game of the season.

Another factor in Fayette’s victory was free throw shooting. Fayette went 18-of-24 from the free throw line.

“Our free throw shooting was huge,” Strickland said. “Any time in a tournament game you get the chance to shoot free throws, you have to hit those ‘free’ shots. The more you hit those, it gives you a great opportunity to win.”

The Lady Tigers will take on Northside, Warner Robins at Fort Valley State on Saturday.

Six of Northside, Warner Robins’ (20-10) 10 losses came in 2007. Since then they have had an eight game winning streak and are currently riding a five game winning streak into this match. The Lady Eagles defeated Glynn Academy 68-60 on Wednesday to advance to this game. Northside’s squad features five seniors and five players 5’10” or taller.

The Lady Tigers and the Lady Eagles are both averaging just over 53 points a game on offense, but Fayette County has the defensive edge, allowing an average of 35.2 points per game to Northside’s 43.3.

The winner of this game will meet the winner of Madison County and Mays in the Class AAAA Final Four at 7 p.m. at the Gwinnett Arena next Friday.

Fayette County outlasted Thomas County Central 69-65 last Tuesday to make the Elite Eight of the Class AAAA boys basketball tournament. Noel Johnson led the Tigers in scoring with 28 points and five rebounds, while Addison Flynn chipped in 12 points and Brandon Boykin added 10 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

The Jonesboro Cardinals (24-5) have won seven of their last 10 games. They beat Statesboro 58-57 in the second round of the playoffs to make the Class AAAA quarterfinals. The Cardinals are led by senior guard Brandon Hosley (5’9”) but the team has a lot of height. Eight players are 6’3” or taller, including junior power forward Antonio Gardiner, 6’6” and senior power forward Jerome Brooks, 6’5.”

The Tigers are 8-2 over their last 10 games. They have an edge offensively over Jonesboro scoring an average of 70.1 points per game to the Cardinals’ 59.8, but the Tigers allow an average of 60.5 points per game to Jonesboro’s 49.3.

The winner of this game will meet the winner of Lithia Springs and Miller Grove at 5:30 p.m next Friday in the Class AAAA at the Gwinnett Arena.

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