Despite a barrage of North Hall 3-pointers, the Lady Hawks survived with improved defense, strong inside play from Allisha Gray and two clutch 3s from Shonterria Kitchens for a 68-52 win Friday in a Class AAA state semifinal at the Macon Coliseum.
“Our final task and goal this year is to remain undefeated and win a state championship in 2012,” said Lady Hawks coach Sug Parker, whose team has won 63 in a row.
Gray scored 40 points in the win and hit her final nine free-throw attempts as the Lady Hawks (31-0) blew open a game that was once a one-point contest.
North Hall kept it close mostly behind a 3-point flood led by Mary Kate Rushton, who hit five of her team’s nine 3-pointers. She had 27 points in the game.
However, Gray was often the finisher on transition plays after steals or rebounds and also completed second-chance tries near the rim.
She was at her best when her team’s future was the most in doubt. In the second half, the Lady Trojans cut the deficit to one five times.
Gray scored the game’s next points after four of these instances.
However, it was Kitchens who finally ended her team’s drought on 3s as Washington County started 0 for 18 from the perimeter.
In the fourth period, Kitchens got open twice and drilled two 3s.
Her first pushed Washington County’s edge to 51-43. The second shot made it 54-47.
After the second 3, North Hall never got closer than six.
“When I hit that one 3, I knew there was more yet to come,” said Kitchens, who hurt her right knee in the game but said afterward she was OK.
It was a welcome change from the distance for Washington County, which was outscored 27-0 on 3s before Kitchens’ pair.