Lady Hawks move on to Elite 8
MACON—The Heritage School girls basketball team may have felt some butterflies in its GISA state tournament opener on Wednesday.
But by the time the Lady Hawks were wrap- ping up a 48-14 Class AAA first-round victory over Mount de Sales, they were back to playing the same dominant defense that earned the team a Region 1-AAA title.
Heritage slowly built an 18-5 halftime lead and cruised into the Elite 8 where the team will face Southland on Friday at 7 p.m., in a game to be played at Tattnall Square.
Trinity Christian’s girls, however, were denied a chance to advance in its first trip to the GISA state tournament. The Lady Lions ended their season with a 47-20 loss to first-round co-host Tattnall Square.
Heritage’s girls weren’t about to be denied, though despite a slow start.
The Lady Hawks led 7-3 after one quarter but used an 11-2 run in the second to begin to pull away.
“We started off kind of nervous, but that goes back to this being the first times these girls were supposed to win. I’m proud of how we shook off the nerves and played Heritage basketball,” said Heritage School head coach Derrick Clay. “It’s big for the program to get a win in the playoffs, and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Mount de Sales, the No. 4 seed out of Region 2-AAA, managed just three points in the first quar- ter and two in the second.
Heritage increased the lead to 30-12 at the end of the third quarter.
The Lady Hawks now to get ready to take on Southland Friday night for a chance to move on to the GISA Final Four next week at Mercer University.
Southland, which finished as the No. 2 seed in Region 3-AAA, defeated Westminster-Augusta 35-30 in its first round game.
The Elite 8 girls game will be played at Tattnall Square on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Lady Hawks hope to be joined in the GISA quarterfinal by Heritage’s boys, who also face Mount de Sales tonight in its 5:30 p.m., opening round game at Stratford Academy.
The Hawks (14-7) finished as the No. 3 seed in Region 1-AAA while the Cavaliers (15-9) enter with a No. 5 state ranking as the Region 2-AAA runner-up.
As far as Heritage’s girls, freshman Kara Groover continued to have an impressive varsity debut leading the Lady Hawks with 16 points. Lillie Smith added 10 for Heritage, including two 3-pointers.
Kate Everett also added eight points, connecting on 3 of 5 shots from the field to help push the Lady Hawks into the second round.
Maggie Crosby added 4 points, Karlee Groover and Kaytlin Squires each finished with three points and Ruthie Powell had two to pace the Lady Hawks.
Heritage’s girls also controlled the boards, pulling down 29 rebounds, including 17 on the defensive side of the glass.
Heritage could have won by an even wider margin but struggled from both the free-throw line and beyond the 3-point circle.
The Lady Hawks finished 3 of 12 on 3-point attempts. In addition to Smith’s two treys, Everett also had a 3-pointer.
Heritage went just 9 of 25 from the free throw line, with Smith having the best day from the char- ity stripe, hit both of her attempts.
LADY HAWKS 48, LADY CAVALIERS 18
Heritage 7 11 12 18 — 48 Mount de Sales 3 2 7 6 — 18
TRINITY’S STATE TOURNAMENT DEBUT CUT SHORT: The Lady Lions first trip to the GISA state basketball tournament ended earlier than hoped on Wednesday after entering their first- round game without a top contributor.
Trinity junior Ashley Caldwell was missing due to illness forcing Kaley Grace to pick up the scoring slack while leading the Lady Lions with 11 points.
Sirena Eller added four points for Trinity while senior Sara Bryan and Eve Taylor had three and two, respectively.