For the second year in a row, Griffin lost a region tournament game in Stockbridge High School’s gym. Last year, Griffin lost to Northside-Warner Robins 46-44 on a buzzer beater and on Tuesday, the fourth-seed Lady Bears lost to the fifth-seed Mt. Zion-Jonesboro Lady Bulldogs 46-28 in a first-round game that wasn’t close from the start. With the win, Mt. Zion (12-12) advances to play on Thursday and also qualifies for the Class AAAA state playoffs. The season is over for Griffin (11-9), which is eliminated from state playoff contention for the seventh consecutive year.
Griffin was sluggish from the outset. Mt. Zion scored the first four points of the game, while the Lady Bears struggled to make shots. Mt. Zion’s shooting prowess wasn’t much better, but the Lady Bulldogs compensated for their poor shooting by making all the hustle plays - they got to all the loose balls and grabbed all the rebounds.
A free throw from Makenda Lindsey was the only point Griffin could muster in the first quarter, as the score at the end of one was 7-1, Mt. Zion. Lindsey also scored Griffin’s first basket of the game at the 5:27 mark of the second quarter on a lay-up, but Mt. Zion junior forward Tierra Newell torched Griffin for 11 second-quarter points, including three three-pointers, to give Mt. Zion a 20-13 halftime advantage.
Griffin’s Tedra Alford scored five points in the third quarter to keep the Lady Bears within eight points at 28-20, but Mt. Zion went on a 5-0 run to lead 33-20 heading into the final stanza.
Mt. Zion outhustled Griffin at the start of the fourth quarter, racing to its biggest lead of the game at 36-20. The Lady Bears then woke up and scored six straight points to get within 10 at 36-26. Aneesah Head scored five of the six, including a big 3-point play.
Another Head basket made the score 38-28 in favor of Mt. Zion with 2:25 left in regulation, but turnovers and missed shots doomed Griffin. The Lady Bears didn’t score again.
Alford and Head led Griffin with nine points each and Lindsey chipped in six. Newell led all scorers with 24 points and Precious Person added 7 for Mt. Zion.