By Brad Harrison
MACON — Hot shooting by Deerfield-Windsor’s Joyner Tyson moved the Lady Knights into the lead Wednesday in the first round of the GISA Class AAA state tournament against John Milledge.
Tyson’s supporting cast finished the Trojans off in the fourth quarter with the Knights winning 38-24 in a game played at Tattnall Square. Deerfield (15-11) plays Westfield at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Stratford Academy with a berth in the Final Four on the line.
Tyson did most of her damage in the first half, scoring 12 points to account for all but three of the Lady Knights first-half points. All of those points came from behind the 3-point line for Joyner, who finished with 17 points and made five shots from behind the 3-point arc.
She heated up in the second quarter that followed a first quarter that ended with John Milledge ahead 4-3.
Then, Tyson took over. 3-pointers on consecutive possessions broke an 8-8 tie as the Lady Knights led 14-10 with 1:37 left until halftime. Deerfield never trailed again.
“Tyson’s been a good shooter all year. She saved us there early,” Deerfield-Windsor head coach Jeff Eubanks said. “She settled us down with some good shots, and we had a good defensive second half.”
Tyson scored just two points in a third quarter in which the Lady Knights converted just two field goals. John Milledge however, was unable to capitalize, drawing as close as down 20-17 following a score by Kate Giddens, who led the Lady Trojans with 10 points.
The Lady Trojans paid dearly with the Lady Knights grabbing the game’s momentum in a large way to begin the fourth quarter.
Tyson drained a 3-pointer early in the final quarter for a 26-17 lead. From there, the Lady Knights took over inside, converting shots in the paint to begin to coast to the win. A pair of Libby Greene lay-ups extended the Deerfield lead to 30-17, and a Jordan Lane lay-up ended a 9-0 run that put Deerfield in front 31-17 at the halfway point of the quarter.
John Milledge’s Kelsey Chambers trimmed the Deerfield lead below 10 points at 31-23 with 3:16 to play, but the Lady Knights clamped down defensively from there, holding the LadyTrojans to a single point the rest of the way.