SPRINGFIELD, Ga. - Sheena Freeman scored 21 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to lead the Laney girls to 46-41 victory over Richmond Hill on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
Laney (19-9) advances to the second round against Westover at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Augusta State athletic complex.
Laney trailed 22-12 at halftime, but did not allow a Richmond Hill point in the third quarter while scoring 11 points of its own.
"We just got out of synch, and they played better defense on us," said Richmond Hill coach David Giddens.
Laney used a box-and-one defense to keep the ball away from center Jane Edenfield, who had controlled the inside in the first half.
Without an opening to Edenfield, Richmond Hill struggled to get shots and seemed content to pass around the perimeter of the zone.
"Richmond Hill is very well coached, and my girls got lulled into a slower game," said Laney coach Otis Smart. "We're really a lot more explosive than we showed today."
In the first half, Laney hit just four field goals and was four-for-10 at the free throw line.
Richmond Hill, 18-11, finished the half on a 14-3 run, culminating with Sarah Brown's 3-pointer with two seconds left in the half, to go ahead 22-12.
But Freeman had seven points in Laney's 11-0 third quarter and added 14 in the fourth quarter. She made 12 of 16 free-throw shots in the final eight minutes.
After scoring just 12 in the first half, Laney had 34 points in the second half.
"We finally came out of our shell," Smart said.
Edenfield finished with 18 points. Shanique Hazelwood added 12 and Brown had nine.
Danielle Garrett had seven points for Laney. Alicia Lewis and Tomika Brisco had six apiece.
LANEY (46)-Sab. Wilson 1, Lewis 6, Freeman 22, Garrett 7, Sam. Wilson 2, Brisco 6, Greer 2.
RICHMOND HILL (41)-Hallman 2, Edenfield 18, Brown 9, Hazelwood 12.
Records: Richmond Hill 18-11; Laney 19-9.
HEPHZIBAH 53, SHAW 42
In Columbus, Ga., the Hephzibah girls got it right this time against Shaw High.
Tamara Gilyard scored 23 points to lead the Lady Rebels to a sweet victory.
Unlike last season's playoff game, when Hephzibah built a second-half lead then lost it and ended up losing to Shaw in overtime, the Lady Rebels kept the pressure on and used their inside game to their advantage.
Shaw started the game on a roll, shooting 50 percent (7-of-14) from the floor and led by as many as six points in the first quarter.
While the Lady Raiders cooled off some in the second quarter, they still managed to lead until Gilyard's follow with three seconds left in the first half gave Hephzibah a 23-22 lead.
The third quarter, however, was the difference. Hephzibah fed the ball inside to the 6-foot Gilyard, who scored seven of her points in the third quarter, mostly on layups.
Gilyard helped key a 7-0 run midway through the third that helped the Lady Rebels build leads as high as eight points.
Hephzibah extended its lead to 11 points at 44-33 with 5:15 left in the game. Shaw held the Lady Rebels without a basket for the next 3:18 while using a 6-0 run to cut Hephzibah's lead to 44-39 with 2:32 left but couldn't get any closer.
Jessica Webb led Shaw with 11 points while Krystle Moore added 10.
Hephzibah had only three players score but all three finished in double figures.
GA. CLASS A BOWDON GIRLS 61 LINCOLN COUNTY 37
WATKINSVILLE, Ga. - Bowdon opened up a 30-point second-half lead en route to a victory over Lincoln County in the first round of the Class A girls state playoffs at Athens Academy on Saturday night.
Seven of Bowdon's eight players scored and three were in double figures for Bowdon, which used a 21-4 run in the third and fourth quarters to open a 59-29 lead. Bowdon used its backdoor offense to win a number of open layups.
Bowdon coach Mike Wright, though, was more concerned with the layups his team missed than with the ones it made.
"We were real pleased with the way we played," Wright said, "except that we missed about 20 layups. We don't really have a post game, so our offense is set up to back cut and curl."
Dee Beasley paced Bowdon with 19 points. Freshman Thomassian Wyatt scored 14 points, and Kasie Wright scored six straight in the third quarter en route to an 11-point performance.
Michelle Elam was Lincoln County's only double figure scorer with 11.
Bowdon will meet 2000 Class A runner-up Wesleyan at 7 p.m. Thursday at Floyd College in Rome. Wesleyan, which is 24-4 and ranked sixth in Class A, routed Walker 75-24 on Friday night to advance.