“It’s a relief to get that first state win,” said Lady Jags head coach Demetrius King. “Now we have to see how hungry we are.”
It was a tight contest from the beginning, with Spalding leading 11-10 after one quarter and the Lady Jags taking a four-point lead into halftime at 29-25. Spalding, ranked 10th in the state in AAA, had a great start to the third quarter, racing out to a 36-27 lead after a Shay Williams steal led to a lay-up by Kiara Smith. But led by Crisp County’s Monique Grant, the Lady Cougars went on a 16-3 run to take a 43-39 lead into the fourth quarter. Grant scored five points in the quarter, but her hustle and ball-handling helped the Lady Cougars take the lead.
Spalding woke up in the fourth quarter. The Lady Jags picked up the defensive intensity in the first few minutes of the final quarter, getting turnovers which led to fast break lay-ups for Spalding. The Lady Jags went on a 10-0 run to lead 53-43 with 4:00 remaining. A 3-pointer by Grant stopped the drought for Crisp County, but the Lady Jags were in a groove and went on to win the contest.
Grant's trey was the only points Crisp scored in the fourth quarter.
Williams led Spalding with 20 points and Shakeva Richards added 15 points, eight in the fourth quarter. Williams was 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
Grant finished with 14 to lead Crisp County (21-8).
“I’m excited that we won the first state playoff game in the history of the school,” Williams said. “Now we just have to keep it up.”
Spalding now travels to Sandersville, Ga. to face No. 2 state-ranked Washington County Wednesday, March 3 in state second-round action. Washington County, at 25-2 and a No. 1 seed, trounced No. 4 seeded Shaw 67-27 in the first round.