Because of foul trouble and a suffocating Columbia defense, the Washington County girls basketball team lost 57-33 in the Class AAA state championship game Saturday night at the Macon Coliseum. The defeat ended the Lady Hawks’ winning streak at 63 games.
The Lady Eagles got a measure of revenge on Washington County, which beat them in the state semifinals last season.
This season’s Columbia team – one which had a banner that read “To be continued” and was signed by team members – leaves with a crown.
Columbia did it with defense, holding the Lady Hawks 24 points below their previous season-low.
“We were not hitting the shots we normally hit,” Washington County coach Sug Parker said.
Part of the reason was Washington County star Allisha Gray was in foul trouble.
The junior picked up her second foul with 7:24 remaining in the second quarter, then got called for her third less than two minutes later. Gray had only 14 points in the game, and was often blanketed by a pair of defenders when she had the ball.
“You just have to play a lot more timid when you get into foul trouble like that – you can’t be aggressive,” Gray said. “It was hard sitting on the bench for so long. I felt like I could contribute, but I think they held it together OK.”
With Washington County already down, Columbia remained comfortably in front as Gray sat, closing the half with a 33-16 edge.
Kadeeja Vaughn was a force underneath for the Lady Eagles (24-5), helping the state champions dominate on the boards. Vaughn scored 10 of her 17 points in the second quarter.
Gray returned to the floor at the start of the third, and though Shonterria Kitchens hit a 3-pointer and Gray had a bucket on a putback to make it 40-28, there would be no comeback.
Instead, the Lady Hawks (31-1) struggled with a scoring drought that lasted more than seven minutes to begin the fourth quarter.
The deficit swelled from there, with Miah Spencer’s layup after a Lady Hawks turnover bringing it to a
Despite the loss, the Lady Hawks anticipate another successful run next season.
“We will definitely be back next year,” Parker said.