AAAAA girls: Southwest DeKalb 49, Winder-Barrow 48

It took seven lead changes and nine ties before Southwest DeKalb left the Macon Centreplex with its 49-48 victory over Winder-Barrow in the girls Class AAAAA state title game. The win shelved the Panthers their first state title since 2013 and the program’s fifth since their first state crown came in 2008. The incredibly tight path this game took on the scoreboard happened despite massive disparities in several statistical categories. In terms of scoring, both teams netted 10 free throws and Winder-Barrow made two 3-pointers to the Panthers’ one made deep ball. Southwest DeKalb ended up making 19 shots from the field and Winder-Barrow made 18, which explains the 49-48 final score.  However, Southwest DeKalb finished the game 19-of-72 from the field (26.4 % shooting) compared to Winder-Barrow’s 18-of-42 night (42.9%). The 30 extra shots came from Southwest DeKalb’s 26 offensive rebounds and the 27 turnovers the Panthers forced the Bulldoggs in the game.

Southwest DeKalb trailed 9-8 after the first quarter and went into the half tied 25-25. The Panthers led 34-29 with a minute left in the third quarter, but Winder-Barrow sparked a 6-2 run to close the quarter after buckets by Tiera Mayweather, Chellia Watson and Mayweather that cut it to 36-35. It remained a one possession game until Chantz Cherry made a pair of free throws with 1:52 left in the final quarter to give Southwest DeKalb a 47-43 lead. Lexi Maddox answered with a Bulldoggs layup and then Daisa Alexander found Cori Bostic with 1:27 left for a layup to give Southwest DeKalb a 49-45 lead. Chellia Watson made a midrange jumper with :32 seconds left to make it a 49-47 game and after a missed free throw by Michaela Bennefield, Winder-Barrow got the ball back with a chance to tie but Lexi Maddox came up short on her layup. Olivia Nelson-Ododa got the offensive rebound and put it back up but was fouled on the play and the ball got to the rim before rolling back on what would have been the game-tying basket. Nelson-Ododa split the free-throws and Winder-Barrow was left with a desperation inbounds scenario with just over a second left. The result was the Bulldoggs’s 27th and final turnover.

Daisa Alexander led Southwest DeKalb with a game-high 19 points off 8-of-29 shooting. Teammate Raven Thurman finished with 13 points. Winder-Barrow had three players finish in double-figures with Nelson-Ododa leading the way with 13 points to go with her game-high 19 rebounds. Latrice Perkins finished with 11 points and Mayweather netted 10.

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