4A Girls: Spalding 58, Henry County 46

Spalding won its first girls basketball title on Saturday at Georgia Tech.

ATLANTA — In a game where defense was the difference maker, Spalding soundly defeated Henry County 58-46 to take home the school’s first girls basketball title. After a field goal early in the game by Amaiya Jackson put the Warhawks up 2-1, Spalding took the lead and would not lose it for the remainder of the game.

The Jaguars began to build their lead early in the game, capitalizing on multiple turnovers by the Warhawks. Junior guard Kayla Milner and senior guard Kiana Banks found success from beyond the arc early on, making three three-pointers between the two of them to add to their first-quarter production. Racking up eight personal fouls early in the game, Spalding appeared to open up the door for Henry County to mount a comeback. The Warhawks were shooting 50 percent from the floor, but had only one successful three-point attempt out of 10.

Success from the Spalding offense came from several players. Sophomore guard Corriana Evans found success throughout the game, contributing heavily towards her school’s first state title. “It feels great. We got to make history,” Evans said. “We put in hard work and energy every day to be able to play.” Evans ended the game as the Lady Jags’ leading scorer with 19 points and grabbed a whopping 17 rebounds.

Spalding never let off the pedal and outscored Henry County 16-8 in the second quarter. Lights-out defense by Spalding kept the Warhawks offense from putting up points.

“Defense and rebounds, that’s what it’s all about,” Spalding head coach Tykira Gilbert said after the game. “We knew they were going to come out strong. We knew what we had to do.”

With 2:25 left in the third, the Warhawks began to mount a comeback after a deep three by senior point guard Janaya Wadsworth, bringing them within 10 points of Spalding with a score of 37-27. They went on to score five straight points as the third quarter ended.

The fourth quarter told a different story. Spalding began to play extremely physical ball, scoring 15 straight after a series of turnovers by Henry County. The Warhawks managed to cut Spalding’s lead to 57-42 with 1:17 remaining, but the Jaguars held on strong as they finished out their championship game. Kirah Milner ended the game with nine points and two assists for the Jaguars. Henry County’s Brooke Moore finished with 21 points and three rebounds.

When asked about individual performances, Gilbert’s answer showed just how proud of her team she was.

“I want to highlight the whole team. They did this. This is all for the team, and the city. It’s about them.”


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