Pelham coach Antonia Tookes was upset after last Saturday's loss to Seminole in the regular-season finale about what she perceived to be poor officiating, but her Lady Hornets got revenge on the Lady Indians on Friday night in the Region 1-A tournament semifinals in a 41-26 rout.
PELHAM — Some folks in navy and gold may have thought the last Pelham loss to Seminole County was a fluke.
The Lady Hornets made it clear in Friday’s Region 1-A tournament that they were the better team. Pelham easily handled a cold-shooting Lady Indians’ squad, 41-26, in the semifinals of the region playoffs to advance back to today’s region title game at home one year after bringing Pelham its first championship in years.
“We just wanted to have an opportunity to defend our region championship,” said Lady Hornets head coach Antonia Tookes, who was more than frustrated after a 47-44 loss to Seminole County last Saturday that marked the Lady Hornets’ only region loss this season. “We want to rise to the occasion and I hope we will.”
Pelham (24-3) will get that chance tonight when it faces its neighbors, Mitchell County, in the Region 1-A girls title game beginning at 8:30 p.m.
Bainbridge loses region title amid controversy
COLUMBUS — Days, weeks, months — maybe even years from now — the Bainbridge boys basketball team will still be scratching its heads, wondering what the heck happened Friday night in Columbus.
According to Bearcats coach Rickey McCullough, with less than five seconds to play in the Bearcats’ 1-AAAA title game against Northside, Warner Robins — and with the scored tied, 58-58 — Warner Robins put up a shot after the horn went off, which the refs counted — and then ran off the floor.
“The (GHSA) officials who were running the tournament went in and asked them if the shot counted, and they said it did,” McCullough said of the 60-58 loss, which snapped the Bearcats’ 17-game winning streak and ended a three-year title run. “So game over, I guess.”
Paul Chukes led BHS with 19, followed by Dontavius Marshall with 11.
The loss means Bainbridge will be a No. 2 seed in next week’s Class AAAA State Tournament, and they will host the first round at home Saturday.
Lee girls beat BHS in 1-AAAA consolation game
COLUMBUS — Led by Herald Super 6er DaQuenna Moore’s double-double — 30 points, 20 rebounds — the Lee County girls beat Bainbridge on Friday, 56-43, in the 1-AAAA tournament’s third-place game.
Briana Wade led Bainbridge with 13m while Alex Carter added 10.
Lee (No. 3 seed) and BHS (No. 4) will have to travel for next week’s state tournament.
Seminole (12-9) scored just nine points in the first half and had no players finish in double figures, while the Lady Hornets were just as balanced as they have been all season, led by freshman Briunna Freeman’s 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“We played good enough defense,” Seminole County head coach Jesse McLeod said. “We just couldn’t score. You hold a team to 40 points, you’ve got an excellent chance to win the game. None of our kids wanted the ball (Friday).”
The Lady Indians will face Randolph-Clay’s girls in the consolation game at 5:30 p.m. today in Pelham, playing for the No. 3 and 4 seed in the state playoffs out of Region 1-A.
Hillary Williams scored 10 for Pelham, while Octavia Kierce added nine points. Seminole was led by Katrese Brown and Marissa Mike, each of whom scored eight points.
“Defense wins championships, and they played really good defense (Friday) night,” said Tookes, who threatened to report what she deemed as poor officiating in her team’s last game against Seminole to the GHSA, but later changed her mind.
Pelham led, 20-9, at halftime and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half. The Lady Hornets beat today’s region title opponent, Mitchell County, twice during the regular season by 18 and 22 points in the first two meetings.
Mitchell County boys 53, Randolph-Clay boys 45: The Eagles will get their first shot at a Region 1-A title since moving down to Class A after knocking off Randolph-Clay with a 12-4 run in the final 4:30 of the region semis.
Mitchell County was clearly outsized by the Red Devils, but the smallest man on the court — guard Stacey Butler Jr. — came up big with a game-high 23 points to assure the Eagles of a home game in the first round of the state playoffs next week.
“One thing you can’t measure is the heart of a champion, and I feel like these guys are all champions,” Mitchell County assistant coach Derex Woumnm said.
Mitchell County (17-9) led 41-40 with 4:42 to play before Butler scored eight points in the final five minutes while Randolph-Clay missed the front end of three straight one-and-one free throw attempts.
“It’s a rivalry game,” Butler said. “We wanted to come out and prove we were the better team.”
Randolph-Clay (16-11) was led by freshman Gary McCrae’s 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Herald Super 6er Shaq Nunnally added 14 points in the loss. The Red Devils will face Pelham at 4 p.m. today for playoff seeding.
Mitchell, meanwhile, plays Calhoun County at 7 p.m. for the region title and the top seed in Region 1-A. Butler didn’t play in the two team’s first meeting, a 78-74 Eagles’ win in double overtime that saw Mitchell rally from a 30-point deficit.
Mitchell County girls 53, Randolph-Clay girls 35: Mitchell County’s girls rolled into the region title game by blasting a Lady Red Devils team they lost to twice during the regular season.
“Sweet revenge,” Lady Eagles head coach Rosemary Dudley-Sanders said of the win. “It’s been a while since we beat Randolph-Clay.”
Sophomore sensations A’Miracle Jones and Shonbreka Holton each scored 15 points in the win, sending Mitchell County (14-12) on a collision course with county rival Pelham today.
“(Jones and Holton) haven’t realized their capabilities,” Dudley-Sanders said. “Once they realize the different things that they can do, they’ll be awesome. (The team is) young and the more games they play, the more they learn.”
Randolph-Clay (15-6) was led by Kanekia Washington’s 15 points, while Adrianna Blackmon added 11 in the loss, which sends the Lady Red Devils to the consolation game today against Seminole County.
Mitchell County led just 26-22 at the half, but outscored R-C 27-13 in the second half.
Calhoun County boys 63, Pelham boys 61: Pelham junior Roderick Williams battled back from injury to hit two big threes to rally the Hornets, but his 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed in and out, allowing Calhoun County to survive again and advance to today’s region championship.
Williams, Pelham’s junior leader, hurt his ankle early in the first quarter and missed nearly all of the final three quarters before coming off the bench and helping Pelham overcome a double-digit deficit in the final quarter.
“We just kept fighting and had a couple of chances,” said Hornets’ head coach Laron Smith, whose team faces Randolph-Clay today at 4 p.m. for the region’s 3 and 4 seeds. “We’re still in it. I feel good about this team.”
Williams, who scored six points in less than two quarters of play, missed a go-ahead 3-pointer with 16 seconds to play and then had the shot to win the game with two seconds left roll around the rim.
“He was definitely not supposed to be that open on that last shot,” said Calhoun County head coach Marcus Shaw, whose No. 1 seeded team from the north subregion will face south subregion No. 1 seed Mitchell County today at 7 p.m.
Calhoun County (20-6), which is now 12-1 since Christmas break, was led by Vincent Powell’s 25 points. Raishun Anderson added 13, while Marquez Williams scored 12.
Pelham (13-14) was paced by Jaquan Green’s 15 points, and Steve Mango added 12 in the loss.