Terrell Academy head girls basketball coach Keith Jones took off his state title ring from last year on Friday night after the Lady Eagles' Final Four win against Briarwood because he wants make room for another today. (Herald file photo)
MILLEDGEVILLE — No hugs, no tears, no screaming, no shouting — nope, not from the Terrell Academy girls, who simply didn’t celebrate after trouncing Briarwood, 56-27, in the GISA Class A Final Four on Friday.
“We’ll celebrate when it’s over,’’ said freshman Marilauren Farr, who dropped in 12 points, then looked toward today’s title game against Gatewood.
That’s the way everyone feels at TAE, where the Quad Squad will try to make history — or as junior Lauren Barfield calls it “major history”’ — today by becoming the first girls team in GISA history to win four consecutive state titles.
“There’s no need to celebrate now,’’ coach Keith Jones said after the Briarwood win. “We want to win a state championship. They didn’t celebrate because they know what’s ahead of them. They have their work cut out for them.’’
After the win, Jones took off his state title ring he wears, and will go without it today to prove a point. He is leaving his ring finger open for a new ring in a symbolic gesture.
“We need to put a new one on,’’ said Jones, who played everyone in Friday’s romp against Briarwood (24-8).
The team’s only senior, Alex Barfield (no relation to Lauren) led the way with 19 points, then Farr followed with a strong game inside, and Lauren Barfield, who was all over the court, added 10 points.
“We haven’t finished the job,’’ Lauren Barfield said. “We’re just climbing the mountain.’’
Farr then finished Barfield’s sentence.
“And it’s a steep mountain,’’ she said.
It’s a mountain no one in GISA has ever climbed, and that’s why today’s title game at 3:20 p.m. back at Georgia College and State University means so much to Terrell Academy (25-3), which will take an 18-game winning streak into the title game against the same team the Lady Eagles beat a year ago for their third championship. That title came down to a game-winning shot by Maura Milliron, who beat Gatewood with 2.4 seconds left on the clock.
She’s back for another title, and her brand of play tells you everything you need to know about Terrell Academy, which hustled all day and forced 40 turnovers — including 14 in the third quarter.
The Lady Eagles were leading, 23-7, in the second when Briarwood’s Rachel Coxwell, who led the Lady Bucs with 13 points, made a steal and was on her way to an uncontested lay-up. That’s when Milliron came out of nowhere and ran down Coxwell, slapping the ball away at the last instant.
That’s the style of play that has TAE on the brink of history.
“We’re close. You can see it now,’’ Farr said. “I had a dream about it, about us winning the title. We were all in the middle of the court celebrating.’’
“It’s right there,’’ added Lauren Barfield. “It means a lot to win it, to be the first team to win four.’’
That’s when they will celebrate.
“Oh yeah, we will celebrate,’’ said Milliron, who finished with five points and ran the team at the point guard spot all day.
“I’ll pick her up,’’ she then added, pointing to Farr, who is 6-feet tall, while Millliron is a petite 5-6. “I mean it. If we win, I’m picking her up!’’