Lakeside boys clinch state playoff berth

With two home games left in the regular season, the Grovetown girls are starting to find their rhythm.

 

Ayana Collins scored 20 points Friday night as the Lady Warriors rolled to a 48-30 win over Lakeside. In the boys contest, the Panthers used a big third quarter to pull out a 64-51 victory over the Warriors.

Grovetown won its fourth game in a row, improving to 13-10 overall, 6-2 in Region 3-AAAAAA play. Lady Warriors coach Jaime Echols said he believes his team’s tough nonregion schedule is paying off. After playing several tough teams the first two months, Grovetown lost two weeks ago to Class AAAAAA No. 4 Cherokee. Since then, the Lady Warriors haven’t dropped a contest.

“I think the schedule we had at the beginning of the year is finally starting to pay dividends,” Echols said. “There were a couple of times when we didn’t box out or defend the screen like we needed to, but I thought we played really fundamental basketball. That’s what you’ve got to be doing this time of year to give yourself a chance.”

Grovetown has its eyes set on grabbing one of the top two seeds in the region tournament in two weeks. Currently second in the region behind Heritage, the Lady Warriors can clinch a state playoff spot and a first round region tournament bye with a win next week at home against Greenbrier or Heritage.

“We really need to win one of these next two,” Echols said. “The thing about the region this year, I feel like every game you can win or lose.

“It’s going to be an exciting finish, and it’s going to be an exciting region tournament.”

Grovetown took a 14-6 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. While Collins swished two 3-pointers en route to her game-high scoring effort, Aniyah Jones added 11 points. Faith Wright led the Lady Panthers with eight points.

In the boys game, Kalen Williams led Lakeside with 19 points, while Brad Hilley added 10. The Panthers led 26-17 at intermission, but Lakeside outscored Grovetown, 22-12, in the third quarter to pull away.

The Panthers improved to 12-9 overall, 6-2 in region play. With the victory, Lakeside clinched a state playoff berth and a bye in the region tournament.

Grovetown fell to 9-10 overall, 3-5 in the region. Julius Brown came off the bench to lead the Warriors with 15 points on five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

 

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