Going into the Region 8-AA tournament, the Banks County Lady Leopards were on the outside looking in for a Class AA playoff spot. 

Three wins later, the Lady Leopards not only clinched a playoff berth but clinched a home playoff game in the round of 32. They defeated South Atlanta to advance to the Sweet 16. 

In the Sweet 16, though, the Lady Leopards' season came to an end at the hands of Vidalia. The Lady Indians took down the Lady Leopards 55-36 on Feb. 19. 

"I honestly think the girls seemed nervous at the beginning of the game," head coach Steven Shedd said. "I believe we were down by as many as 10 at the start of the game before we finally seemed to settle in after a timeout. The girls did a great job of keeping the game within reach.

"However, it seemed like every time we would make a run and close the gap, we would turn the ball over and they would build their lead again. We turned the ball over a pretty good bit, struggled rebounding at times and missed a lot of high-percentage shots. It's tough to win games against very good teams, like Vidalia, when you make those types of mistakes."

The Lady Leopards finished the season 15-16. Shedd is "extremely proud" for what his team accomplished during the season. 

"Every year, you will hear most coaches say that you want to be playing your best basketball around the time the region tournament starts, and that is exactly what our team did," he said. "I told the team that people expect us to get to the Sweet 16 or farther every year, and that is a great pressure to have.

"This team has continued to carry the torch of success for our program and allowed us to get to our fourth Sweet 16 in six years and third region championship game in four years. We feel like we are still a relatively young team and we are very excited about the future of Lady Leopard basketball ... I thanked our seniors for their commitment and sacrifice to our program, and I challenged our returning players to work hard on their skills in the offseason so that we can be even better next year."


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