GUYTON – Most folks know Tianna Germain can do it all. Friday in the first round of the Class AAAA girls’ state playoffs, she proved it by filling up the stat sheet.
Germain, South Effingham’s star senior guard, finished with a triple-double in a 64-44 win over Dougherty High in the opening round, although it wasn’t the first time she’s done it.
“First time this year,” said Germain, who scored 20 points to go with 12 assists and 10 steals. “They told me with 11 seconds left that I needed one more steal. I wanted that steal.”
She got it and the Lady Mustangs (25-4) got a first-round victory to advance to the Sweet 16 Monday where they will play host to Region 2-AAAA No. 2 seed Rutland. Tipoff has yet to be announced.
South Effingham got contributions from everywhere Friday with Machala Raymonville scoring 13 points to go with six boards and three blocks. Dekiah Butler added 11 points and sophomore center Shae Leverett chipped in eight points, 10 boards and three blocks.
"(Germain did) a phenomenal job setting the pace for us,” South Effingham head coach Stacey Womack said. “That’s what she does. We had some really good defensive stops and everybody that stepped on the floor contributed.”
Dougherty, the No. 4 seed from Region 1-AAAA, fell behind 9-0 early but rallied to cut the lead to 17-13 on Ra’Keta Shelton’s jumper with 2:08 left in the first quarter. Shelton had a monster game in the paint with 19 points and 21 rebounds, but she couldn’t do it alone.
“We knew that was going to be their go-to girl inside and she could control the paint if you let her,” Womack said of Shelton. “She’s very physical. We just wanted to keep the pressure on.”
South Effingham led 31-21 at the break and then clamped down on the defensive end, holding Dougherty (15-11) to just three points in the third quarter. The Lady Mustangs went on an 8-0 run to close out the third, capped by Germain’s 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 43-24 lead.
“We were getting what we wanted,” Lady Trojans’ head coach Charlene Jackson said. “We just weren’t capitalizing. They do a lot of good stuff and they play well together. They did all the things they needed to do to win.”
Amber Ward scored 13 in the loss for Dougherty, one of four seniors for the Lady Trojans who end their high school careers.
“I just feel bad for those four seniors, but I challenged the ones that are coming back,” said Jackson, whose team had to travel four hours for the playoff matchup. “I expect a lot out of them.”
South Effingham has now played four games in five days thanks to nasty weather that pushed back the Region 3-AAAA tournament several days, but eventually ended with the Lady Mustangs as repeating region champs.
“It’s been a madhouse, but this is the fun time of the year when you’re not supposed to get any sleep,” Womack said. “That’s kind of what you live for – this moment.”