A basket by Apalachee High School’s Kesley Knox tied the score against Habersham Central with 5:52 left in the third quarter in a region matchup on Friday, Jan. 31. The visiting Lady Raiders, however, would then close out the quarter on a 17-0 run to take control of the contest on their way to a 50-26 victory.
It was the regular season finale for both teams as the GHSA Region 8-AAAAAA tournament begins Thursday, Feb. 6, at Gainesville High School.
AHS (2-23, 0-10 region) was paced by Joanna Gross against Habersham Central (12-12, 4-6).
“Habersham got hot and we got into a scoring lull,” said Lady Wildcats coach Derrick Allen. “They are very well coached and their defensive scheme hurt us the first time we played against them.”
Nykerriah Brown was extremely hot from long distance for the Lady Raiders finishing with a game high 23 points, including seven 3-pointers. Addie Penick added 15 points for coach Bill Bradley’s team. Bradley is a long-time high school basketball coach guiding several successful programs in and out of Georgia.
“In this region, it only takes a couple of minutes for a game to completely turn,” Allen said.
Habersham Central led 13-9 after the first quarter. The second quarter saw both teams go on scoring runs. AHS scored eight consecutive points going back to the end of the first capped by a layup by Gross and a basket by Cyara Bradford.
With the scored tied at 13, the Lady Raiders reeled off five points in a row and eventually would take a 21-17 lead into halftime.
With the teams even at 23 in the third quarter Brown connected on four straight 3-point baskets. Another three by Penik gave Habersham Central a 15-point lead after three quarters.
The loss closed out a tough regular season for AHS, which posted its two wins back in November. The Lady Wildcats will enter the region tournament on a 20-game losing streak and facing an uphill battle.
The Lady Wildcats, the No. 6 seed, will face Winder-Barrow High School on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 6 p.m.
“We just have to go out and compete to the best of our abilities,” Allen said. “That’s what it really comes down to.”