In the evening session of the Region 2-AAAAA Girls Basketball Tour-nament Saturday, Green-brier High School and Evans ensured that at least one Columbia County team would advance to the championship round.
In the 6:30 p.m. game, the No. 3 seed Lady Knights jumped out to a 16-2 lead over No. 2 seed Warner Robins and never looked back, winning 65-47. In the final game of the day, the No. 1 seed Lady Wolfpack took down No. 4 Jones County, 50-34, setting up the fourth meeting of the season with the Lady Knights in the semifinals of the tournament.
With the wins, both advance to the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA State Girls Basketball Tournament. slated to begin Friday.
The Lady Knights (17-7, 5-5 region) had balanced scoring in beating Warner Robins. While Jasmine Stone led the way with 23 points, Elyssa Melton joined in with 13 points and Autumn Johnson and Acacia Blue added 10 points apiece.
Stone scored eight of her points in the third quarter as the Lady Knights pulled away.
“I’m proud of my kids tonight, they (Warner Robins) didn’t let Jasmine get into a rhythm early and the rest of my girls stepped up and hit some big time shots,” said Lady Knights head coach Ryan Morningstar.
The Lady Wolfpack (20-6, 8-2 region) had to brush off a shaky start to move on. They trailed Jones County (4-20, 0-7) 7-5 after the first quarter.
Morgan Taylor got the Lady Wolfpack started with a putback with one second left in the first quarter, then drained a 3-pointer to open the second as the Lady Wolfpack took their first lead at 8-7. While Taylor started things off, scoring 12 of her game-high 15 points in the first half, Destiny Marshall came on strong at the end, scoring all of her 12 points in the fourth quarter.
With the outcome still in doubt, leading 40-34 at the 1:44 mark, Taylor and Marshall combined to salt away the victory. Taylor sank the first of two free throws, Marshall rebounded Taylor’s miss and put it back while getting fouled and sank her free throw for the traditional three-point play. Taylor then came up with a steal and layup as the Lady Wolfpack stretched the lead to 46-34 in a 28-second span.
Lady Wolfpack head coach Stefanie Basinger was relieved.
“The girls found a way to win,” said Basinger. “It wasn’t one of their best games and hard to get offense going, but they hunkered down and did the things they knew they needed to do to win.”