With a region championship in its sights, the Evans High School girls just couldn’t hold on.
Leading by nine after three quarters, the Lady Knights saw Warner Robins storm back to tie the game and send it into overtime. The Lady Eagles controlled the extra period, winning the Region 2-AAAAA Girls Basketball Tournament title, 70-59.
Despite the loss, the Lady Knights (18-8, 10-2) played host to Region 3’s No. 3 seed Bradwell Institute in the first round of the GHSA Class AAAAA girls state tournament on Tuesday.
It got difficult in the fourth quarter when the Lady Knights began losing starters.
“Autumn Johnson fouled out, then Taylor (McChesney) and Allysha picked up her fourth foul and we had to sit her,” Evans head coach Ryan Morningstar said. Warner Robins went 30-45 from the free-throw line.
Up three, Evans defended the 3-pointer, but Warner Robins was still able to hit one late to send it into overtime.
Morningstar wasn’t worried it would have a carryover effect to the state tournament.
“The team probably gets over it quicker than the coaches do,” he said.
Jasmine Stone led the Lady Knights with 22 points while Allysha McFarland added 16.
Friday night, the Lady Knights sank 12 3-pointers, six by McFarland, in the semifinal contest against Houston County, winning 71-47.
Trailing early and in a tight game until the break, Evans took a 34-30 lead into the half following back-to-back threes by Stone and McFarland.
Stone led the Lady Knights with 22 points, McFarland chipping in with 21 and Autumn Johnson adding 14.
On the boys side, after seeing their hopes for a region title dashed, Evans finished the Region 2-AAAAA boys tournament with a full head of steam.
The Knights (23-5, 11-1) lost to Northside, Warner Robins, 80-67, Friday night, but came back Saturday and pummeled Warner Robins, 80-63 to finish third.
They’ll travel to face Region 3’s No. 2 seed Jenkins in Savannah, Ga., today, Feb. 20.
The Warriors (20-8) lost to Effingham County 60-59 in the Region 3 tournament final.
“We took two out of three, that’s not bad,” coach Kevin Kenny said. “We came out in the first half very well with a lot of energy and defensive pressure.”
The Knights jumped on the Demons early and led 46-21 at the half. The Demons started cutting into the lead and trailed by just 57-44 at the end of three quarters, but the Knights were able to finish them off.
Matlin Marshall led the Knights with 22 points, Jacob Buchanan had 19 points and Damian Foreman added 11.
Friday night, the Knights trailed by four at the end of three quarters and were outscored 24-15 in the final stanza.
Foreman led the way with 17 points, Buchanan had 15 points and K’Lon Lovett added 14.
The Harlem Bulldogs (15-14) will enter the Class AA boys state tournament as a No. 4 seed after losing to Westside, 77-60, Friday night in the Region 3-AA tournament semifinals, then losing Saturday afternoon to Dublin, 88-69.
The Bulldogs will travel to Vidalia today facing Region 2’s No. 1 team, a 26-1 Indians squad that enters with a 10-game win streak.
Reggie Reid paced the Bulldogs with 32 points and Torien Beard had 10 in Friday’s loss to Westside, but head coach Kim Chambers pointed to improvement.
“The bottom line is they beat us by 40 points and 50 points in the regular season.” Chambers said. “We were down 10 at halftime, Reggie (Reid) hit a three to put us down by seven and then we went into a funk.”
While disappointed they didn’t make a better showing against Dublin, Chambers was still thrilled that the team would still get the experience of playing in the state tournament.
“It’s a valuable experience,” Chambers said. “We get to work with the kids more and go on an out-of-town trip. The fact that the team made it to state is a blessing.”
In Georgia Independent School Association Class AAA state tournament play, the Augusta Christian Lady Lions lost to Laurence Manning, 51-46, Friday, ending their season with a 13-13 mark.