While Augusta Prep's girls played one of their best games of the year, the Lady Cavaliers' upset bid fell short.
On the strength of five 3-pointers, third-seed John Milledge overcame a 12-point second-half deficit and defeated sixth-seed Augusta Prep 39-34 in the GISA Region 4-AAA Tournament at Boardman Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
"I told the girls that this is the closest I've come to making the state tournament without a team that was a favorite team," eighth-year Augusta Prep coach Kim Chambers said. "I can't ask for anything more than what they gave me."
In other games, the fourth-seeded Augusta Christian girls defeated the fifth-seeded Westminster girls 43-35, while the fourth-seeded Westminster boys downed the fifth-seeded Augusta Prep boys 42-32.
With the wins, the Wildcats, Lady Trojans and Lady Lions qualify for the GISA Class AAA state playoffs next week. In the region tournament, Westminster advances to play top-seeded Brentwood at 8:30 p.m., John Milledge will play second-seed Pinewood at 4 p.m. while fourth-seed Augusta Christian plays top-seed Brentwood at 7 p.m. All games will be held at Augusta Prep on Thursday.
The Lady Cavaliers (6-18) bolted out of the gate and took a 22-12 halftime lead. However, John Milledge went on an 11-2 run in the third quarter to cut the lead to 26-23.
Carter Owen made a layup to give Augusta Prep a 32-29 lead with 2:48 remaining. However, Carrie Waters and Jamey Smith hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Lady Trojans their first lead of the night at 35-32 with 1:15 left.
After John Milledge extended the lead to five with a pair of free throws, Melissa Soucy made a layup to pull Prep within 37-34 with 10.6 seconds left. The Lady Trojans, though, converted two final free throws to seal the deal.
Westminster (14-11) broke an 11-all tie and ended the first half on a 12-2 run to take a 23-13 halftime lead. Bennet Ford keyed the run by scoring the final three baskets of the half.
"We just settled down and realized how important this game was," Wildcats coach Mark Tebbs said. "Bennet missed the last two games because of the flu. We're so much better when he's in there."
Augusta Prep's (4-21) Jim Bennett made a layup to cut the Westminster lead to 34-27 with 4:06 remaining. However, Andrew Lehn scored the next four points and the Wildcats pulled away.
"We're glad we could get back (to the state playoffs," Ford said. "We're glad to get this win over our big rival."
Augusta Christian (9-12) went on an 18-2 run midway through the first half to take a 20-8 lead. Elizabeth Huckabee and Kathyrn Haburchak hit a pair of jumpers to pull Westminster to within eight at the half.
Becca Lewis drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to cut the Lady Lion lead to 29-28 as the third quarter expired. Westminster's Carrie Parks later made a free throw to tie the game at 31 with 5:58 remaining.
However, Katie Resseguie knocked down a 15-foot baseline jumper. Tessa Airaghi made a layup and Melissa Wright followed with a 10-foot jumper to build the Augusta Christian lead back up to six with 4:20 left.
"Westminster shot the ball well tonight," Lady Lions coach Jodie Price said. "We didn't play extremely well in the second half, but we played well enough to win."