GRAY -- Its a familiar position, but even head coach Tom Mobley admitted surprise after his Warner Robins girls team earned a chance to win a third consecutive region championship.
If you would have told me last year, after losing seven seniors -- and most of our scoring -- that wed be here again, Id have said you were crazy, Mobley said after the Demonettes stonewalled Northside 39-32 in a semifinal game of the GHSA 2-AAAAA tournament Friday.
The Demonettes (15-11) play Evans at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday for the title. Evans defeated Houston County 71-47 in the other semifinal.
Warner Robins (15-11) qualified for its opportunity for a third straight region title with stifling defense. With the exception of a short run in the second quarter, Northside established little offensively. The Demonettes led 25-15 at halftime and by 11 after three quarters.
Mobley credits senior guard Asha Stegall for the teams ability to play through the graduation of so many of its top players. But on Friday, Stegall served mostly as a decoy. She scored just two points but drew double-teams and passed to open teammates.
Fellow seniors Jada Everett and Kate Hill combined to score 18 points to lead Warner Robins in scoring. Shambria Smith tallied nine as Northsides top scorer. The Lady Eagles (12-11) will play for third against Houston County.
Evans 71, Houston County 47
Three Evans guards combined to make 12 3-point shots and the Lady Knights turned what had been a close game at halftime into a rout.
Allysa McFarland hit six 3-pointers on the way to 20 points for Evans. Jasmine Stone made four and led the team with 22 points.
Houston County (12-13) trailed 34-30 at halftime. Guard Alexia Williams scored 15 of her 22 points before intermission.
Northside boys 80, Evans 67
Northside recovered from an early 11-point deficit and earned a berth in the boys championship game.
We faced a lot of adversity in that first half, Northside interim head coach Matt Simon said. Its a testament to these seniors -- and we are a senior-laden team. We kept our composure and played a great ballgame.
Northside will play Jones County in the 2-AAAAA championship game at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Northside clawed back behind a combination halfcourt trap and fullcourt pressure. At halftime, the teams were tied at 39. Evans fatigue and relative lack of depth began to show.
They were expending a lot of energy even in the halfcourt, Simon said.
The game remained tight until Northside guard Trey Dennis sparked a decisive run with a great hustle play as the clock neared two minutes.
The sequence gave Northside a 68-61 lead with 2:11 left in the game. One minute later, the Eagles led 74-62.
We went back to our (fullcourt) press to keep running their legs, Simon said. We bust that pipe in the last two-and-a-half minutes.
Northside had four players score in double figures led by Justin Burnam with 21 points. The senior made 9-of-10 foul shots.
Damian Foreman scored 17 points to pace Evans. Jacob Buchanan added 15.
Jones County 73, boys Warner Robins 68
Jerry Stephens tied the game at 67 with a 3-point shot with one minute left in the game. Seconds later, Doug West put the Greyhounds on top to stay with a remarkable tip-in off a Stephens miss.
Trailing 71-68, Warner Robins tried a 3-point shot from the corner that fell short. Jarquez Smith then hit two free throws to round out the scoring.
Smith topped Jones County with 21 points. Juvuan Shine had 23 for Warner Robins to lead all scorers.