Peach Belt roundup: Georgia College pulls off upset; North Georgia, Clayton State also win

Special To The Ledger-EnquirerMarch 6, 2014 

Armstrong Atlantic's women's basketball team came into Thursday's Peach Belt Conference quarterfinal against Georgia College needing a victory to strengthen its claim for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

However, the Pirates -- the No. 1 seed from the Eastern Division -- weren't able to do that, shooting just 37.9 percent (25-of-66) from the floor and turning the ball over 18 times in a 84-67 loss to the Bobcats at the Lumpkin Center.

Now, Armstrong -- ranked seventh in this week's Southeast Region rankings -- must wait until Sunday night to find out if it will earn its first NCAA tournament bid since 2003-04.

The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak for the Pirates (19-7) and sends Georgia College -- the No. 4 seed from the Western Division -- through to Saturday's 2 p.m. semifinal, where the Bobcats will face No. 23 North Georgia (22-5). North Georgia advanced to the semifinals by knocking off USC Aiken, 77-68, on Thursday.

"(Losing to Armstrong 86-79 in their regular-season finale) definitely was a motivator for us," Keys said. "We played them a pretty close game last week, so we knew we could hang with them. We knew we just had to eliminate our mistakes. We weren't perfect today, but we definitely cut down on our mistakes."

Along with Barta's 21 and 6, Davis finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists and Carlson pitched in 14 for the Pirates. Donley had a game-high 25 points and 13 rebounds, Keys tossed in 22 and McKinney had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Bobcats.North Georgia 77,USC Aiken 68Down 62-61 with 4:06 remaining, the Nighthawks (22-5) made 12-of-14 from the free-throw line and got timely stops to hold off the upset-minded Pacers.

"It feels good to get through the first round," North Georgia coach Buffie Burson said. "USC Aiken is always a tough matchup for us. Fortunately, we were able to do what we needed to do to win the game."

Cierra Jackson had a double-double for North Georgia, scoring 21 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, handing out four assists and blocking two shots.

Mimi Hill, who was named the PBC's Player of the Year, scored 20 points and had seven rebounds, Stephanie Huffman netted 15 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots and Keeley Chester chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds for the Nighthawks.

Mariah Duran scored a game-high 27 points and had four rebounds to lead USC Aiken, followed by Courtney Mealing (11 points, 3 assists), Porsha Martin (10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals) and Reese (10 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals) in double figures for the Pacers.Clayton State 75, Lander 73The Lakers (22-5) had to fight for all 40 minutes to hold off a determined upset bid by Lander (12-17).

The Bearcats led 68-67 with 3:02 remaining and were still tied as late as 71-71 with 50 seconds remaining, but Clayton State got four free throws from Bena Hanyard and a pair of offensive stops to move into Saturday's 4 p.m. semifinal against Columbus State (19-7).

Hanyard led Clayton State with 29 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Kiana Morton had 12 points and eight rebounds and Tiayra Green pitched in 12 points and three rebounds.

Ty'hesha Reynolds scored a game-high 32 points and added six rebounds and three steals to pace Lander. Portia McCray had 13 points and seven rebounds and Kayla West finished with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists for the Bearcats in the loss.

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