Hephzibah wins, holds opponent to 13 points

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They can't win if they don't score.

Hephzibah's Lady Rebels made that statement apply in their Region 3-AAA Tournament game on Friday night.

The defending region 3-AAA champions held Richmond Hill scoreless over the first 10:58 of their 66-13 win in the region semifinal Friday at Cross Creek High School.

Hephzibah only allowed five more field goals over the rest of the game.

Normally tight-lipped with praise during play, Lofton surrendered a few morsels of "great defense" to his team during stoppages of play. His players gave him good reason to.

The Lady Wildcats did not score even after Hephzibah's starters hit the bench. They made it past half-court as many as six times in the first quarter.

To its credit, Richmond Hill had a flu epidemic that took away some of its bench. But the result was no different than the other two times the schools met. Hephzibah won by an average of 31 points in those games.

The region's perennial powerhouse had no problems scoring on its end. Steals were plentiful.

The turnovers triggered fast breaks and lay-ins.

Hephzibah (24-3) led by 21 at the end of the first quarter and 34-5 after two quarters.

"Good job baby girls," Hephzibah coach Wendell Lofton told his team at the end of the first half.

Officials called just eight fouls. The game took less than 50 minutes to play including halftime.

Janessa Alexander led the victors with 15 points. Julia Alexander added 12 and Jasmine Judge scored 11.

Hephzibah will seek its fifth consecutive region title tonight against Glenn Hills.

GLENN HILLS 69, THOMSON 50

Thomson football coach Luther Welsh went into the locker room Friday night.

The Bulldogs needed a pep talk. The legendary coach gave it. But not even Welsh had enough fire to help his school against Glenn Hills Friday night.

The Spartans led 40-17 at the half. They remained the hotter team and finished with a 69-50 win.

Glenn Hills moved on to face Burke County tonight for the Region 3-AAA championship at Cross Creek.

Welsh motivated the Bulldogs to a quick 10-point difference in the scoreboard.

Thomson cut that lead down to 46-33 halfway through the third quarter.

"I heard he went into the locker room to talk to those boys," Wallace said. "Nothing wrong with that. These are big basketball games that each school wants to win."

Glenn Hills had its lead back up to 54-35 by the time the fourth quarter began. The Spartans (24-3) were led by the same junior trio that has been putting the team's offense on their shoulders throughout the season.

Chris Reynolds had 23 points. Jerel Stephenson almost matched him for the high total of the game with his 22. Point guard Reggie Middleton rounded out 1-2-3 punch with 17 points. That's 64 of the team's 69 points against the Bulldogs.

"That's nothing new," Glenn Hills coach Richard Wallace said. "They've been doing that all year. Offensively. Rebounding. Defense. I thought our defense was very good in the first half tonight. As I told our team before this game we are going to go as far as our defensive intensity takes us. Because our scoring should always be there."

Glenn Hills will face Burke County, which it has yet to face or see much of this season, tonight.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.


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