The question now: Who is the No. 1 girl's team in Georgia?
No. 2 Josey's 58-53 victory over defending Class AAA champion and current No. 1 Richmond Academy on Friday night before a standing-room-only crowd at ARC gym not only halted the Lady Musketeers' 38-game winning streak, but it also likely will end its reign atop next week's Georgia prep hoops poll.
"This is a tremendous win for us. It feels better than all the things you can get for Christmas," Josey coach Lynn Brantley said. "But Richmond Academy is a great team and Josey is a great team, so I think when the poll comes out, we should both be No. 1."
Senior Kellie Holland's 20 points, including 14 in the second half, and 13 rebounds led the Eagles (21-1, 7-1 in Region 3-AAA, Division A) to their first victory over ARC in the past five meetings -- including the state championship game in Macon last March.
The win was especially sweet for the Eagles, who were embarrassed in a 72-49 loss to ARC at home on Jan. 11. It was Josey's second win over a defending state champion this season -- in late December, the Class AAA runners-up defeated Class AAAA champion Stone Mountain in the Ladies Night Out tournament at ARC.
"We came in here and we saw `Kill the Bird,"' Holland said, referring to a banner in the gym. "That pumped us up because that shows we got no respect here, and we went out there hyped and earned some respect tonight."
ARC coach Pat Rivers, who appreciated Brantley's comments about the polls, said the end of the state's longest winning streak wasn't a concern.
"It may bother the players, but it doesn't bother me," said Rivers, whose Musketeers lost despite a
career-high 29 points from Quanda Ball. "I told them after the game that this loss maybe was the best thing that could have happened. If we have to lose some time, it's better that it comes now. Hopefully, they'll learn from their mistakes."
Now for the Musketeers (21-1, 6-1 in Region 3-AAA, Div. A) to get the No. 1 seed in the subregion and play host to the upcoming tournament next week, they must beat Burke County tonight and then win a coin flip. With a win over the Lady Bears, ARC and Josey -- likely facing a rematch in the subregion title game on Valentine's Day -- would finish tied in the subregion.
As for the end of ARC's yearlong reign atop the rankings?
"It doesn't matter who's No. 1 right now," Rivers said. "It only matters at the end."
In the boys game, Josey's Tyrone Hayes scored 29 points and Larry Wingate added a careerhigh 17 as the Eagles defeated ARC 74-71 in overtime.
Wingate forced overtime when he was fouled at the buzzer in regulation with Josey down 63-62. His first free-throw missed badly, but he recovered to make the second.
JOSEY (58) -- Kellie Holland 20, Lakisha Lane 5, Sherika Wright 10, Nichelle Chapman 4, Kenya Thompkins 12, Michelle Drumgold 2, Chandra Griffin 3. Totals 25 7-10 58.
ARC (53) -- April Steele 10, Natasha McFarley 6, Jessica Johnson 2, Kristy Scott 6, Quanda Ball 29. Totals 20 12-14 53.
Josey -- 10 14 14 17 -- 58
Richmond Academy -- 11 14 12 16 -- 53
3-point goals: Josey -- Wright; ARC -- Scott. Records: Josey 21-1 (7-1 in Region 3AAA Div. A); ARC 21-1 (6-1 in Region 3-AAA, Div. A).
JOSEY (74) -- Jay Allen 4, Cornelius Mitchell 12, Ricardo Middleton 4, Tyrone Hayes 29, Thomas Bland 7, William White 1, Larry Wingate 17.
ARC (71) -- Kenny Dukes 2, Tuffy Walker 16, Quincy Murphy 9, Jacona Pierce 7, Aaron McTier 5, Charles Avery 2, Chance Shannon 24, Jahmal Rainey 4, Brad Reid 2. Totals 25 15-25 71.
Josey -- 14 12 8 20 11 -- 74
Richmond Academy -- 16 16 11 19 9 -- 71
3-point goals: Josey -- Bland; ARC -- Shannon 3, Walker 2, Murphy 1. Records: Josey 21-1 (7-1 in Region 3-AAA Div. A); ARC 21-1 (6-1 in Region 3-AAA, Div. A).
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