Four-peat hopes alive: TAE girls romp in state opener

Lauren Barfield scored a season-high 19 points to lead Terrell Academy to the 72-31 win.

Lauren Barfield scored a season-high 19 points to lead Terrell Academy to the 72-31 win.

DAWSON — Terrell Academy girls basketball coach Keith Jones had his death stare in full effect Wednesday night.

Jones glared a hole through all five of his starters after they came off the floor in the first quarter of the GISA Class AA state playoffs leading just 6-4 against Region 2-AA No. 4 seed Griffin Christian.

The staredown apparently worked. Twenty-eight second-quarter points later, Terrell Academy was up double-digits and rolled to a 72-31 win against the Lady Crusaders to advance to the Elite Eight Friday at Middle Georgia College in Cochran, where they will meet Piedmont Academy at 7 p.m.

Terrell, the No. 1 seed from Region 3-AA, missed its first nine shots from the field and went 0-for-6 from 3-point range in the first quarter Wednesday. It was a lackluster eight minutes that only Jones’ patented stare could fix.

“They knew I was very, very unhappy,” Jones said. “I could have blew a gasket, pitched a fit or just put the evil stare on them. We just literally came out and made no passes and shot the ball or made one pass and shot the ball. We ran nothing. We didn’t try to do anything.”

Less than one minute into the second quarter, the Lady Eagles (23-3) had scored 12 points and led 34-17 at the break after scoring 28 second-quarter points. Senior Alex Barfield scored seven of her 16 points during a 20-2 run to start the second and junior Lauren Barfield hit two of her three 3-pointers to light a fire under the Lady Eagles.

Lauren Barfield scored a season-high 19 points in the win. She has grown accustomed to her coach’s ice-cold glare.

“Yeah, we’re used to that, though,” she said. “He gives us that a lot when we don’t do what we’re supposed to. We just finally decided we were supposed to pick up the tempo.”

Griffin Christian (7-21) got 20 points from Alyssa Spurlock but never got closer than 16 points in the second half. Turnovers doomed the Lady Crusaders in the second half, a result of Terrell Academy’s change of pace in the final three quarters.

“We had a little talk (after the first quarter),” Jones said. “Once a couple of our shots fell, our defense kicked in.”

Alex Barfield added five steals and four rebounds in the win for Terrell, which has now won 16 consecutive games. Freshman Marilauren Farr added 14 points in the win.

The Lady Eagles, who have won three straight state titles (two in Class A, one in Class AA) have beaten their next opponent, Piedmont, already this season, 42-24, in an early Christmas tournament game. Jones, though, expects a challenge to get back to the Final Four.

“They’re big and they’re physical,” he said of Piedmont. “They beat us on the boards (in the first meeting).”