TIFTON -- Don't look now, Georgia, but here comes the Westwood Lady Wildcats.
Aren't used to seeing the private-school girls basketball team from Camilla this deep in the GISA Class A State Tournament?
Don't feel bad -- because neither are they.
"I just have to brag on us a little bit here," began Westwood coach Jenni Smith on Friday after her team upset No. 1 seed Thomas Jefferson, 50-46, in overtime in the Elite 8. "This is the first time in 40 years of girls basketball at Westwood that this program has ever made it this far. We're just thrilled -- so proud -- right now."
That's right, the Lady Wildcats are headed to the Final Four next week in Milledgeville for the first time ever, where they'll meet the team which eliminated them from the state tournament in the first round last year, David Emanuel, at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday at Georgia College & State University.
Virginia Vereen led Westwood with 17 points, followed by 15 from Miller Singleton and 11 from Singleton's younger sister, Morgan.
Vereen was 4-for-5 from the foul line in overtime, Hope Bailey chipped in two and Miller added a free throw to outscore Thomas Jefferson, 7-3, in the extra frame after finishing tied 43-43 in regulation.
"We've stayed mentally tough and it's paid off," said Smith, whose team posted an un-Final Four-like record of 15-9 this season, but never gave up on their goal of making history. "Like I said before, we're just thrilled right now."
GISA CLASS AA ELITE 8 -- TERRELL ACADEMY GIRLS 38, BRENTWOOD 18:
The Lady Eagles will be joining the Lady Wildcats in Milledgeville next week after turning a 10-10 game at halftime into a rout thanks to 13 points from Alex Barfield and 12 from Carley Law.
TAE, which is the two-time defending state champs in Class A, moved up this offseason to AA, despite tons of nay-sayers who hemmed and hawed about how they'd fail.
"Well, that's what we're trying to prove (next weekend) and have been trying to prove all season -- that we can move up and still win," TAE coach Keith Jones said. "We're trying to prove a lot of people wrong who said, 'Yeah, they're moving up, but they're not going to be able to get back to the Final Four or win state again.'
"We've been carrying that chip all year and it's served as motivation every single game."
Terrell will face Christian Heritage at 4 p.m. on Thursday at GCSU.
DWS GIRLS FALL IN GISA CLASS AAA ELITE 8:
Deerfield Windsor's girls lost only six games all season, but they fell to Stratford for the third time on Friday night, 36-34, in the GISA Class AAA Elite 8 to end their season.
"It was back and forth all through the game,'' DWS coach Ty Kinslow said. "I feel bad for the girls. They played their hearts out. Stratford is one of the top teams in the state.
"(My girls) gave a tremendous effort. You hurt for them. They gave it their all.''
Sabrina Curry and Sarah Shellhaas led DWS with six points each, and Candace Cosby scored five for the Lady Knights (21-6).