The first round of the GHSA state playoffs for girls Classes AA-AAAAAA is in the books.
Here’s a look at Tuesday’s action.
Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports for live updates from games, thoughts and predictions. Come back to the Valley Preps Blog for recaps after the boys play on Wednesday.
Recap: The Bi-City area began the day with five girls teams alive in the GHSA state playoffs. After Tuesday’s action, it was down to three. Three teams lost and the Brookstone girls found out they had finished high enough in the power ratings to make the Class A playoffs.
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The Kendrick and Hardaway girls won their respective games against Jefferson and Whitewater. The Lady Cherokees did so by a large margin, as usual, while the Lady Hawks had to eek one out in overtime.
The Northside girls played a very talented Forest Park team, coming up just short, 40-38. Columbus fell to Chestatee on the road, 48-37 and Carver couldn’t keep up with Washington County, one of the best teams in the state.
Across the river, Russell County was swept in the South Regional semifinals.
What it means: It means the Bi-City area is down to just a few teams that can provide postseason success. Hardaway will have a tough game against Evans in the second round, and Kendrick won’t get off easy when it hosts Greater Atlanta Christian. The Lady Cougars find out their opponent on Wednesday.
Kendrick is still the main hope in the area, sitting at 28-0 this season. GAC will present a challenge unlike it has faced all year, though.
What we learned: Postseason success isn’t as easy as you might think. A 1-seed isn’t safe from a 4-seed by any stretch of the imagination. Hardaway struggled against Whitewater, while Northside nearly upset Forest Park.
We also learned that Kendrick coach Sterling Hicks’ expectations are high for his team. I say we learned that, but of course we already knew. Hicks said his team’s performance in a 73-35 win over Jefferson in which it scored the game’s first 16 points left a little bit to be desired. Casual viewers like you and me hear that and wonder how that could possibly be the case. Hicks, however, sees his team every day and knows what it is capable of. He also knows it got blown out in the first round against Buford last year in a manner it has defeated opponents this year.
I think Hicks understands how much stiffer the competition is about to get and he knows his girls still need to raise their games in order to reach their ultimate goal.
Best of the day: Kahlia Lawrence led Kendrick with 24 points on Tuesday, including nine in the first quarter of action. She has been a leader for the Lady Cherokees all year and will need to continue that trend for her team be successful deeper into the playoffs.
What’s next?: Kendrick hosts GAC on Friday, while Hardaway hosts Evans. Brookstone will await word of its opponent on Wednesday.
Quotable: "We want to have four double-digit scorers every night so if people try to stop (Lawrence), we still have enough scoring to win basketball games. We're going to have to have some people step up and be consistent with their effort if we want to go far." –Sterling Hicks, Kendrick coach