SANDERSVILLE, Ga. -- Lashondra Dixon is a time bomb waiting to explode.
Bottled up for most of the contest, the 5-foot-3 three-point guard from Hancock Central scored eight of the team's final 10 points in the fourth quarter, propelling her team to a 49-48 thriller over Washington County in a battle of Region 3-AA subregion leaders.
In the boys contest, Hancock squandered a 10-point third quarter lead and dropped a 54-51 decision to Washington County.
Dixon scored what turned out to be the game-winning layup with 38 seconds left in the contest, then watched as the Lady Hawks came within an eyelash of pulling off a last second upset.
After Dixon scored the go-ahead basket with less than a minute left in the game, Crystal Flournoy picked off the Lady Hawks' pass inside the paint with 30 seconds left in the contest.
Washington quickly fouled Dixon on the inbounds pass, but the Lady Bulldogs weren't in the bonus yet. Finally, after getting Hancock in the bonus with 11 seconds left in the contest, Washington County put Flournoy on the free throw line. But Flournoy missed the first of a one-and-one, giving the Lady Hawks a chance at a buzzer-beater.
Hancock's man defense nearly kept Washington from getting off a final shot, but as time expired, Shauncre Mitchell buried a three-point basket at the buzzer, igniting a wild celebration from Washington County fans and players.
But before Mitchell's shot, the game officials had already waved off the shot, ruling the ball did not leave Mitchell's hand before the game clock expired. The Lady Hawks were held without a basket over the final 2:50 of the contest.
"Free throws and the turnovers, that killed us tonight," said Washington County Lady Hawk coach Allan Gray. "The bad thing is that we only had six turnovers tonight. But those two down the stretch were crucial."
The contest between two of the top girls teams in Region 3-AA was every bit as good as advertised. Most of the pregame hype centered around Dixon and Washington County's Tameiko Washington, who has already signed with Georgia.
"They (Washington County) did a really good job on us, especially covering Lashondra on the boxing out," Lady Bulldog coach Herbert Monroe said. "Hopefully, when we play them again at our place on Saturday night, we'll do a much better job."
Take away the free throws and the two costly turnovers down the stretch and the Lady Hawks played a near-flawless game. As a matter of fact, Washington County started the second quarter by hitting its first five shots and eventually built its biggest lead of the contest at 25-17 with 3:06 left before halftime.
But the Lady Bulldogs roared right back, holding the Lady Hawks without a single basket for the rest of the quarter while Saketiah Smith keyed an 8-0 run with an outside jump shot.
In the boys contest, Washington County held Hancock to just one field goal during the fourth quarter, then held off a late comeback to post the victory.
Trailing 45-35 to start the fourth quarter, the Golden Hawks used a 10-0 run over the first 3:17 of the fourth to tie the game at 45-45 behind two straight three point baskets by Termaine Hagans.
Late in the quarter, the Hawks built a 54-51 lead with 15 seconds left in the game. The Bulldogs had a chance to tie the game, but Lemerius Moore's three-point attempt rimmed in and out of the goal.
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