With Houston County High having cut a 19-point halftime deficit to one point heading into the fourth quarter, Grovetown High’s Alayah Canteen wouldn’t let her team lose.
The Lady Warriors’ senior drilled the last of her four 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter, giving her team breathing room, and the Lady Warriors went on to the 53-47 win in the first round of the Region 2-AAAAA Girls Basketball Tournament at Greenbrier.
The win also gave the Lady Warriors a berth in the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA State Girls Basketball Tournament.
Canteen was on the last Lady Warriors’ team to make the state tournament, the 2010-11 team that went 25-3.
“It feels great and we lost to them (Houston County) my freshman year, so I was like we have to beat them this time,” said Canteen, who scored a game-high 21 points.
In the tournament that was delayed three days, the No. 2 seed Lady Warriors (19-6, 8-2 region) started out slow, but hit their stride in the second quarter, outscoring the Lady Bears 20-8, taking a 31-12 lead at the break.
The Lady Warriors were scoring getting out on the break and draining shots from the outside, but that momentum didn’t translate to the second half.
The No. 3 seed Lady Bears (5-20, 2-5) turned up the defensive pressure, outscoring the Lady Warriors 21-3, cutting their deficit to 34-33. Each time the Lady Bears made a run, the Lady Warriors had an answer, however, including a Rashanna Porter 3-pointer with 2:40 left that gave the Lady Warriors a 49-41 lead with 2:40 to play.
Neither team shot free throws well, but the Lady Warriors’ 9 for 17 effort in the fourth quarter was enough to hold the Lady Bears at bay. The Lady Warriors finished 15 for 37 while the Lady Bears were 13 for 31 from the line.
Kwajelin Farrar had 13 points for the Lady Warriors.
Justice Wright paced the Lady Bears with 19 points and Autumn Ring had 11.
“We’re in now and hopefully we won’t play as tight in the next round,” said Lady Warriors’ coach Jaime Echols. “Thank goodness this is over.”