Friday AA State Championship Roundup

Photo by Ty Freeman


Girls AA: Wesleyan 45, Holy Innocents’ 31

After falling to the Golden Bears (31-1) three times by a total of 18 points, Wesleyan (25-7) knew it was time for a change and time to spoil Holy Innocents’ shot at a perfect season. The Wolves got closer and closer each meeting but could never get over the hump with losses of 10 points, six points, and two points in the region championship. Sophomore Natalie Armstrong and senior Lauren Frerking were determined to bring home Wesleyan’s 11th title in school history and did so after shutting down Holy Innocents’ stars Khayla Pointer and Erika Cassell leading to a 45-31 state championship victory. Armstrong poured in a team-high 17 points while Frerking added nine points and 11 rebounds to power the Wolves to their 10th state title in 12 years.

The Bears held a 9-8 lead after the first quarter, but struggled to contain Armstrong as she finished with 13 points in the half. While Armstrong led the scoring attack, the Wolves’ defense clamped down on Pointer and Cassell. Pointer, a sophomore, entered averaging 14 points per game but Wesleyan made it a point to shut her down. She struggled throughout shooting just 1-of-14 from the field and finishing four points. Center Erika Cassell could not find a groove either scoring six points on 3-of-12 shooting while pulling down 16 rebounds. Kaila Hubbard was the only Bear who was able to score efficiently leading Holy Innocents with eight points.

Though Wesleyan didn’t shoot much better themselves (26.9%), the Wolves held the Bears to just 17.9 percent in the second half. There was a lid on the rim from everywhere for Holy Innocents as they went 1-of-17 from three and 6-of-15 from the line. The Bears were still in striking distance heading into the fourth trailing 26-23, but their cold shooting was too much to overcome as the Wolves surged in the fourth quarter outscoring Holy Innocents’ 19 to 8 to put the icing on yet another state championship.


Boys AA: Seminole County 76, Crawford County 71

Crawford County (27-4) mounted a late charge to challenge Seminole County (28-3) but in the end UGA-commit Jordan Harris’ 41 points led the Indians to a 76-71 victory in the AA State Championship Friday afternoon in Macon.
The Eagles of Crawford County opened the game with three pointers from Damien Saffold and Jeremy Raines to set the pace and fire up the local crowd. Will Jarrell scored six first-quarter points as the Eagles clung to a 12-11 lead. Seminole County held the lead for a mere :31 seconds late in the quarter. Jordan Harris and Anfernee King paced Seminole, both with four points. Both teams rebounded well in the opening quarter, 14 total boards for Seminole, and 12 for Crawford County. The second quarter would be a different story entirely.
Crawford County opened the second quarter with two three-pointers to apply pressure and push the lead to 18-13. Seminole County’s Harris answered with a driving lay-in on which he was fouled, but failed to convert the free throw. Seminole County, led by Harris, mounted a 10-0 run to take the lead with 4:30 left in the second quarter. Harris’ run was made possible by punishing Crawford County on rebounds especially on the offensive end. Harris alone had 10 boards in the quarter. Seminole County amassed 27 total rebounds, 15 offensive and 12 defensive to Crawford County’s team effort of only 15 total, with only five on the offensive side. Crawford County was able to stay in the game with 4-8 shooting behind the arc, led by Raines and Saffold.
Seminole County took a 32-26 lead at the half after outscoring Crawford County 21-14 in the second quarter. Coach Clyde Zachery of Crawford County said of the situation, “We didn’t box out well, or execute down low. They just didn’t play the best they could tonight.”Crawford County clawed back into the game on the back of Jarrell. Seminole held a 67-60 lead with 3:30 left but on back to back plays, but Jarrell was fouled on a three point attempt and converted the free-throws to bring it within four. The junior then stole a pass at half-court and drove in for the score to make it 67-65 with 2:10 remaining. Jarrell would finish with a team-high 31 points on the night. Sensing the urgency, Crawford’s Quay Wiggins drove low, was fouled and converted both free throws on a one-and-one to tie the game at 69 with 1:00 remaining. Seminole County’s Jordan Harris, who overcame an eye gash in the game against Manchester last Wednesday, then took over.

 ”I had to be there for my team, I love my team” said Harris, “It was just my moment to play, I hate losing more than I like winning.” Seminole County head coach Kevin Godwin regarding final minutes added ” Give credit to Crawford County, they got themselves back in this game. It was a long last two minutes. Until the horn went off, I wasn’t comfortable”
Seminole County’s defense allowed for two Harris breakaways in the final minute. He also hit two free throws with :44 seconds left to put away the game.
Coach Godwin said of his star, “Having a kid like Jordan Harris is like having a coach on the floor, he’s a real leader.”

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