Lakeside High School's girls basketball team enjoyed a historic moment. The Evans boys team did just enough.
Those were among the high points for Columbia County teams during the Region 3-AAAA tournament, which finished Saturday at Richmond Academy.
The host Musketeers won the boys title, while Hephzibah claimed the girls crown.
Lakeside's girls earned the school's first basketball state playoff berth and will play Statesboro High this week.
The Rebels ended Lakeside's region run during Friday's semifinal. Top-seeded Hephzibah overcame its second consecutive slow start, outscoring Lakeside by 20 points in the final three quarters of a 53-37 victory.
Central Florida signee Aarika Judge scored a game-high 20 for Hephzibah and had just as much impact on the defensive end, deflecting passes and harassing ball-handlers.
Lakeside led 10-6 at the end of the first quarter.
But the Panthers missed an opportunity to increase that lead by missing numerous layups after breaking Hephzibah's press with precise passing.
Point guard Carolyn Hennecken scored 13 for the Panthers.
Evans' boys clinched a state playoff berth. The Knights will play at Wayne County Friday.
Coach Kevin Kenny's team missed its shot at playing the region final after squandering a lead and losing to Glenn Hills, 50-49, during the semifinal.
Spartans forward Terrell Fitts scored the last three points, including a free throw with 10.9 seconds that accounted for the final margin.
The Spartans trailed by 10 entering the final period, but sliced that deficit to two in just 84 seconds.
"We got a lot of veteran guys, but that changed the momentum," said Glenn Hills coach Travis McRae.
Fitts had tied the game on a powerful drive with 1:35 left before his final free throw.
Fitts and Ron Myers led Glenn Hills with 12 points each.
Evans had a chance to win, but Troy Griffith's leaning 3-pointer from the corner skimmed off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
"Any time he gets a shot off I'm holding my breath," McRae said. "He's that kind of shooter."
Evans had survived an earlier scare, defeating Grovetown 39-38 to earn the state berth.
Evans closed the first half on a 10-1 run to give it the cushion it needed to absorb Grovetown's final-minute charge.
Griffith scored a game-high 16 points to help the Knights prevail even though Grovetown held them to their lowest point total of the season.
"Everybody's fighting for their lives, because everyone wants to go to the state tournament," said Kenny, whose team never trailed in the second half and clinched a spot in the state tournament. "That's what we told our kids."
After defeating Cross Creek to start the tournament, Lakeside's boys found themselves overmatched against Glenn Hills in the quarterfinal.
The bigger, faster Spartans had their way from the start, but McRae didn't like how they were handling it.
One dunk had been canceled by a traveling violation and another dunk attempt ended with the ball stuffed by the center of the rim.
"We don't need showtime," McRae told his players during a timeout. "We need points."
The second-seeded Spartans responded by finishing a 65-42 victory over the region's No. 7 team.
Stephen Fastenau and Matt Middleton contributed to this story.
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