Terrell Academy girls coach Keith Jones has her girls on another run at a state title, which would be their fourth in a row.
PINEHURST — Consider this: The Terrell Academy girls basketball team hasn’t lost a game in 2012.
Now consider this: The Lady Eagles may just run the table the rest of the way — all the way to their fourth straight GISA State Championship.
Terrell (21-3 overall) remained unbeaten in Region 3-AA play Thursday night when it smashed Brookwood, 59-35, in the semifinals of the region tournament after getting a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed. The Lady Eagles, who last lost in a Christmas tournament in late December, haven’t been beaten since, and Thursday marked their 14th straight victory. One more and they’re region champs — again — and on their way to the state tournament, where they’ll try to capture their fourth straight state crown.
“The girls played good. That makes 14 in a row,” said TAE coach Keith Jones, whose program won two back-to-back Class A state titles before moving up last year and winning it all again in AA.
Marilauren Farr led the way Thursday with 24 points, while Lauren Barfield added 14.
Tonight, the Lady Eagles play tournament host Fullington Academy — a team they’ve already beaten twice — for the region crown at 7 p.m.
GISA Region 3-A Tournament
CAMILLA — It’s Westwood vs. Crisp Academy — again.
Westwood’s girls, who have lost twice to Crisp Academy this season, and Westwood’s boys — who have also lost twice to Crisp this year — will both face off tonight once again, only this time it will be for the GISA Region 3-A championship.
Westwoood landed in the title game by dispensing of Grace Christian in the semifinals Thursday, 45-24, behind 15 points from Miller Singleton and nine from her sister Morgan.
That win, of course, set the stage tonight for another installment of what’s becoming one of the best private-school rivalries in the state. The two teams also met last year for the Class A state crown, with Crisp also winning then, too.
Westwood coach Jenni Smith just hopes her girls can finally solve the riddle that is Crisp Academy.
“I thought we played good defense on them the last time at their place, even though we lost,” said Smith, whose Lady Wildcats held Crisp well below their season average — and kept star Madi Mitchell in check to the tune of 14 points — but still lost, 35-21. “They held the ball a lot for long stretches of time, so we need to make sure we spend more time on offense this time, rather than defense.”
Smith, however, admitted that she was still searching for the formula to beat Westwood’s neighboring rival.
“We still need to find that one thing — and we’ll try some different stuff this time around — but I think that it ultimately comes down to offense for us,” she said. “We’ve got to knock down our shots — 21 points won’t cut it like last game. I hope that the home floor gives us some advantage, but they’re a good team and their fans travel well, so I’m not sure how much it does.
“It’s still basketball. The rim is still 10 feet high. And it’s still a team we haven’t beaten.”
Crisp, meanwhile, is partly licking its chops at a chance at Westwood, and partly wary of that old adage: It’s hard to beat the same team twice in a season — much less three times.
“I think we’re feeling pretty confident,” said Crisp coach Gina Mitchell, whose team walloped Georgia Christian in its semifinal matchup Thursday, 50-29. “But we’re not overly confident by any means. Anything can happen against a good team like Westwood. We just need to stay focused on one game at a time, play our game, play good defense and I think we’ll be all right.”
Madi Mitchell led Crisp on Thursday with 24 points, while Kayla Childers added 10 and Kristen Greene contributed eight.
Regardless of what happens tonight, both Crisp and Westwood have already punched their ticket to the Class A state tournament next week, the first and second rounds of which will be played at ABAC.
As for the boys game Thursday, Westwood and Crisp both won to set up the rematch as Westwood just edged by Georgia Christian, 49-41.
Head coach Al Timmerman is looking for a little momentum, and an edge wherever he can find it tonight when his team faces Crisp Academy for the third time this season in today’s 8:30 p.m. GISA Region 3-A title game.
Jamie Davis led the way with a double-double, dropping in 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Mitch Good also had a big night, scoring 18 points.
“Those two went 10-of-11 from the free throw line, and most of that came in the fourth quarter when we were holding them off,’’ Timmerman said. “It was the third time we beat them this year.’’
Now for a third game against top-seeded Crisp Academy.
“We’re playing in a championship game,’’ Timmerman said. “I hope we can keep the intensity going against them. I think we will be ready to play. I know they will be ready. It’s going to be a good one.’’
GISA Region 3-AA
PINEHURST — The Southwest Georgia Academy boys basketball team got its revenge out of the way Thursday night the GISA Region 3-AA tournament semifinals, beating Brookwood, 46-36, to avenge last year’s finals loss. SGA not only beat Brookwood twice during the regular season, but Thursday’s win made it 3-for-3 this year.
“It felt good,” SGA coach David Byrne said. “That’s for sure.”
The victory now sets up a finals showdown today at 8:30 p.m. at Fullington Academy against the tournament host. SGA lost in Pinehurst in the two teams’ first meeting this season, then crushed Fullington by 30 in Damascus in the rematch. The only thing Byrne is worried about coming into tonight’s tiebreaker is SGA’s ability to shoot in Fullington’s gym.
“Man ... we haven’t been able to hit shots in that gym for years,” Byrne, who is in his fourth season as head coach, said with a laugh. “But we match up well with them. The key for us will be to come out, hit some early shots and get our confidence doing. We haven’t won a region title in ... I don’t know how long. I hope (we can finally end the drought tonight).”
Either way, SGA is guaranteed the No. 1 or No. 2 seed heading into next week’s Class AA State Tournament, which begins Thursday — the first two rounds of which will be hosted by Terrell Academy.
GISA Region 3-AAA
TIFTON — The Deerfield boys will play Westfield in the Region 3-AAA tournament semifinals today at 8:30 p.m. at ABAC, and a win would give longtime coach Gordy Gruhl No. 999 for his career, plus it would advance DWS to the finals Saturday against the winner of the other semifinal between Sherwood and Calvary at 5:30 p.m.
On the girls side, Southland plays Westfield on one side of the bracket at 4 p.m., while Deerfield will face Tiftarea in the other semifinal at 7 p.m., with the winners meeting in the finals Saturday.