GRAY, Ga. -- It was like a boxing match between two heavyweights. But in the end, Josey outslugged defending Class AAA girls state champion Woodward Academy and scored a knockout.
The Lady Eagles outscored Woodward 28-3 over the final seven minutes of the final quarter to advance to the Class AAA state quarterfinals where they'll meet Columbus Spencer tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Jones County High School.
However, the Glenn Hills Lady Spartans had its magical season come to an end, falling to Morrow 56-40 in an early game on Friday to end its season at 20-10.
In one of the most exciting and thrilling games this season, Josey overcame a cold-shooting third quarter to upend perennial state power Woodward.
After Woodward built its largest lead of the game at 35-28 with 7:16 left to play, the Lady Eagles caught fire. Sabrina Hawthorne buried a three-pointer from the right wing to trim the lead to 35-31. Then after a Woodward turnover, Adrienne Walker sank her first goal of the night, a three-pointer from atop the key to pull Josey to 35-34 with 5:56 left.
"I had a wide open shot," said Waker, who didn't score many points but her excellent ball-handling against Woodward's press was one of the keys to the game.
"I had been hitting that shot (from that spot) during warmups."
With 4:43 left in the game, Martina Sapp penetrated the lane, then dished to Kenya Thompkins to tie the game at 36. Walker sank an 18-footer to give the Lady Eagles the lead at 38-36 with 4:09 left.
Woodward retied the game at 38 on a layup from Kim Lawrence with 3:12 left, but that was their last points of the game.
Thompkins, who finished with 17 points, sank a bucket to give Josey the lead for good. Sapp sank a shot off the glass to give the Lady Eagles a four-point lead, then a turnover followed by a sharp pass from Hawthorne to Thompkins underneath the basket sealed the victory.
"I was just trying to help my team out," said Thompkins, who muscled her way inside the lane and gave Woodward fits the entire night. "I knew we couldn't lose. Sabrina passed me the ball and I just put it up."
For the second straight season, Morrow eliminated an Augusta-area school in the south sectionals. Last season it was Laney, this season it was Glenn Hills.
"I'm proud of what these girls have done this year," said Glenn Hills coach Berard Bowman, whose team had its seven-game winning streak snapped.
"The Good Lord has blessed us all year long. Regardless of what happened tonight, I'm still proud of what this team did. Our four seniors, Ashaki Brown, Natalie Godbee, Katherine Turner and Roselena Golphin, they ended their careers on a good note."
Friday night's performance wasn't the usual performance fans have gotten used to seeing from Glenn Hills. Even though they played perhaps their best defensive game of the season, they shot poorly from the perimeter and missed several shots underneath the basket.
In addition, Morrow took advantage of the Lady Spartans' much-smaller lineup, pounding the ball inside and taking advantage of the inside game. If their two 5-foot-10 players, Lauren Goss and Ayanna Brandon didn't score, they drew fouls.
The loss overshadowed a strong defensive performance from Brown and Alexis Whitfield, who kept Glenn Hills in the game with aggressive defense. Both fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Spartans led 12-8 after the first quarter but Morrow quickly took the lead on a three-point play from Goss and an inside lay-in from freshman Kirby Copeland. The Lady Spartans never led again.
The story of the game may have been Glenn Hills' inability to connect from the floor in the third quarter. They converted on two of their 10 shots from the perimeter while Morrow outscored them 16-8 to build an 11-point lead at 37-26.
The Lady Mustangs increased their lead to 14 points early in the fourth but Glenn Hill tried to make a late run. Using a full court press, Marian Whitfield sank a bucket, then a steal and a strong layup from Marquita Lacey cut the lead to 46-38 with 2:42 left.
But the Lady Mustangs outscored Glenn Hills 10-2 over the final 2:30 to turn a close game ito a rout.
"We didn't hit any shots in the third quarter," Bowman said. "We had our opporunities but we didn't score. We had some wide open shots that didn't fall. We just didn't capitalize on our opportunities."
GLENN HILLS (40) -- Katherine Turner 11, Marian Whitfield 10, Ashaki Brown 8, Alexis Whitfield 4, Sheena Carpenter 3, Shrnel Grant 2, Brandi Grubbs 2. Totals 17 4-6 40.
MORROW (56) -- Kirby Copeland 23, Ayanna Brandon 10, Lauren Goss 10, Alexis Johnson 9, Tee Cee Wesley 2, Natohya Henry 2. Totals 18 18-23 56.
Glenn Hills12 6 8 14 -- 40
Morrow8 13 16 19 -- 56
3-point goals: none. Records: Morrow 20-9, Glenn Hills 20-10.
WOODWARD (38) -- Nefertiti Walker 15, Kim Lawrence 8, Heather Ripley 7, Jasmin Theard 4, Kenya Pye 4. Totals 14 6-13 38.
JOSEY (48) -- Kenya Thompkins 17, Martina Sapp 12, Sabrina Hawthorne 6, Adrienne Walker 5, Artisha Crawford 4, Termika Walton 4. Totals 19 8-14 48.
Woodward 9 14 10 5 -- 38
Josey 9 10 9 20 -- 48
3-point goals: Woodward 3 (Walker 2, Ripley); Josey 2 (Walker, Hawthorne). Records: Josey 18-8. Next Game: Josey vs. Columbus Spencer, tonight, 8:30 p.m. (at Jones County High School).
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