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GISA REGION TOURNAMENT ROUNDUP: TAE girls claim AA crown; SGA boys fall short; DWS boys, girls reach 3-AAA championship games

PINEHURST — Keith Jones called his Terrell Academy girls basketball team “the quietest 20-3 team in the state” on Friday night after the Lady Eagles won their eighth region title in nine years.

And the fact TAE isn’t getting a lot of recognition is just fine by Jones.

“All year long, all we’ve heard is that Gatewood and Christian Heritage are the teams to beat (in Class AA),” Jones said. “Well, we beat both those teams last year on our way to the state title, so if people keep wanting to overlook us, that’s OK. We’re just fine not being the favorite.”

Even if they should be.

The Lady Eagles, who won back-to-back Class A titles in 2008-09 and 2009-10, moved up in 2010-11 to win it all in AA. And Friday, they claimed their second straight GISA Region 3-AA title with a 65-43 wallopping of Fullington behind four double-figure scorers: Lauren Barfield (18 points), Marilauren Farr (16), Maura Milliron (15) and Alex Barfield (14).

TAE led, 42-17, at the half and never looked back, and now they will be the No. 1 seed in the first round of next week’s state tournament, which they host. The Lady Eagles will open against Curtis Baptist on Wednesday.

GISA REGION 3-AA TITLE GAME — FULLINGTON BOYS 57, SGA 50: After stomping Fullington by 30 just two weeks ago in Damascus, the Warriors’ hot hands went ice cold Friday as they fell one win short of the region title for the second straight season.

“The shots that fell at our place simply didn’t fall at theirs,” SGA coach David Byrne said. “We couldn’t find the bucket (Friday).”

McKinley Chambless led SGA with 17 points, followed by Kameron Whitaker (13) and Nate Lingo (12). The loss now means that SGA will have to settle for the No. 2 seed when the Class AA state tournament starts next week in Dawson.

But that’s not the only bad news for the kids from Damascus, who had one of the best seasons in school history this year at 19-4 overall.

The Warriors will have to open up against defending state champ Frederica on Thursday, after Frederica lost a coin flip for the No. 1 seed, then fell in overtime of its region tournament semifinals to drop all the way to the No. 4 seed.


REGION 3-AAA TOURNAMENT

DWS boys, girls win semis matchups; Gruhl one away from 1,000

TIFTON — One more.

That’s all Deerfield boys basketball coach Gordy Gruhl and his team need to not only secure the GISA Region 3-AAA title, but give Gruhl career-win No. 1,000.

The Knights handed Gruhl No. 999 on a silver platter Friday with a 60-44 rout of rival Westfield to set up a showdown for all the marbles tonight against another rival, Sherwood, at ABAC. DWS has already beaten Sherwood twice this season, but Gruhl said he’s taking nothing for granted.

“It’s never easy,” he said.

Weston King led the way with 12 points in Friday’s win for Deerfield, which also got 10 from junior star Ramello Carter, who scored his 1,000th career point in the win. Sam Shellhaas also added 10 points.

Tonight’s title game is 6:30 p.m.

DEERFIELD GIRLS 36, TIFTAREA 25: The Lady Knights also advanced to the region championship game, which will be played at 5 p.m. today at ABAC.

Nyla Perry led the way with 12 points, followed by 10 from Courtney Kelson, while Heather Lash added seven rebounds.

The win sets up a rematch with rival Westfield tonight in the finals. The two teams split during the regular season with DWS winning most recently in Albany to secure the No. 1 seed.