MACON — Three out of four ain’t bad.
Ty Kinslow just wishes Southwest Georgia was batting 1.000.
The Deerfield girls basketball coach saw his team’s state title dreams shot down Friday by Westminster, 39-26, in the GISA Class AAA State Tournament Elite 8, while the area’s other three remaining teams — Terrell Academy (Class AA) and Westwood and Crisp Academy (Class A) — all advanced in routs.
“Missing our two post players (Gaby Burt, torn ACL, and Heather Lash, concussion) really hurt us against their pair of six-footers,” said Kinslow, whose team finishes the season a remarkable 23-5 and as Region 3-AAA champs, but won’t be advancing any further. “We got outrebounded 31-10, and that’s pretty much the story of the game.”
Miranda Phillips led DWS with 10 points, followed by nine from Nyle Perry.
Deerfield trailed, 10-2, after the first quarter and 21-10 at halftime, but crept back into the game in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 28-22.
But the Lady Knights would get no closer and will now join the Deerfield boys team — which lost in a first-round stunner Thursday night against Griffin Christian — as spectators the rest of the way.
“We kept fighting, and that’s all I can ask,” said Kinslow, whose team will lose five seniors — Candace Cosby, Sabrina Curry, Courtney Kelson, Phillips and Lash. “We had a very small margin of error against this team with the injuries we had.
“I told them afterward I couldn’t be more proud of them and it’s been a pleasure coaching them and thanked them for working so hard. They faced a lot of adversity this year, but they worked hard and never gave up.”
COCHRAN — No. 4 is calling the Lady Eagles’ name.
The Terrell Academy girls basketball team is now just two wins away from its fourth straight GISA state title after rolling in the Class AA Elite 8 on Friday night, 54-16, against Piedmont Academy.
Next stop: Millledgeville.
“We feel like that’s our home now,” Terrell coach Keith Jones said. “We call that place home (after all the success we’ve had there in the last three years), so next week I just told the girls, ‘We’re going home. Let’s see what happens.’ ”
TAE has now won 17 games in a row and hasn’t lost in 2012 after falling in a 2011 Christmas Tournament.
The Lady Eagles didn’t need to break much of a sweat Friday night as they jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never let up. Marilauren Farr led the way with 20 points, while Alex Barfield added 14 and Maura Milliron — last year’s hero in the state title game — added nine.
“We kept the pressure on for four quarters and then let some of our younger girls in so they could see the style of ball we’ll expect them to play when they get to this point (later in their careers) at state,” Jones said. “It was a good win.”
Terrell (24-3) will now face Briarwood on Friday at 4 p.m. at Georgia College & State University, home to the GISA Final Four. On the other side of the bracket is Gatewood and Christian Heritage — the two teams TAE beat on its way to the title a season ago.
When asked if No. 4 was so close he could taste it, Jones said he wan’t counting his chickens before they hatch.
“Nah, it hasn’t sunk it that we’re so close because anything can happen in Milledgeville,” he said. “We’ve had some heartbreak up there for years before we finally broke through. We’ve lost some at the buzzer there, and we’ve won some at the buzzer.
“Like I said, anything can happen when you get to Milledgeville.”
TIFTON — Can someone say crash course?
Because that’s what Southwest Georgia rivals Westwood and Crisp Academy are on right now.
Both teams — which have battled all year in Region 3-A — won Friday night in a pair of laughers in the GISA Class A State Tournament Elite 8 to advance to next week’s Final Four in Milledgeville.
Westwood romped past Oak Mountain, 73-39, scoring a season-high in points, while Crisp Academy beat Nathaniel Greene, 62-15 — after leading an embarrassing 40-5 at halftime.
That sets the stage for next week’s Final Four, where the Lady Wildcats of Camilla will play a team they’ve already beaten three times this year — Grace Christian out of Bainbridge, which beat Thomas Jefferson on Friday on a buzzer beater by Rachel Harrell — at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, while the Lady Wildcats of Cordele will play Westminster Christian on Friday at 1 p.m.
As for what both teams can take away from a pair of routs? Both coaches tried to find the positive in the wins.
“It wasn’t a pretty ball game by any stretch,” said Westwood coach Jenni Smith, whose team beat Grace twice during the regular season and once in the region tourmament. “We shot the ball bad in the first half and still led, 26-15, at halftime. We seemed out of sync, but we had a good chat at halftime and the girls responded, so I guess that was the biggest positive.”
Crisp Academy coach Gina Mitchell said her team was able to use the mismatch to work on some new things on offense they’d been wanting to try out.
“We did some different things we hadn’t done before, and they worked pretty well,” said Mitchell, whose team was led by her daughter, Madi, with 17 points, followed by Kendall Wilson (14) and Kristin Greene and Molly Parker, both with eight. “Still, it’s never pretty when you beat a team like that.”
If both Southwest Georgia rivals win next week, it will set up a rematch of last year’s state championship game, which Crisp won handily. Of course, Crisp has already beaten Westwood three times this season — twice in the regular season and once last week for the 3-A title — so one might think the path is paved pretty nicely for the kids from Cordele.
“Well, you know, they’re tough and they play us tough,” Mitchell said of a potential fourth meeting of the season with Westwood. “All we can do is worry about Friday, play our game and if we meet Westwood again, we’ll play them the same way we always do.”