PELHAM -- Just in case you didnt know, Briunna Freeman is from Pelham.
Thats what Freeman said after Pelham knocked off Northeast 48-30 in the opening round of the GHSA Class AA playoffs Tuesday night.
And she said it with emphasis.
Everybody (at school) was talking about their name, said Freeman, who poured in 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. They were saying Northeast, like it was some big name of something, and they were saying how they were coming all the way down here from Macon, and how they were from Macon, like it was some big thing. Well, Im from Pelham.
Indeed she is.
And Freeman is a big reason Pelham (25-4) has a chance to make a run at a state title.
Everybody wants to go to the Sweet 16, Pelham head coach Antonia Tookes said. Thank God we made it.
Pelham simply made life miserable Northeast. The Lady Hornets defense stopped Northeast cold in the second quarter, not allowing a single point from the floor in the quarter to take a 24-10 lead to halftime. Pelham cranked up the defensive pressure again in the fourth quarter and didnt allow a single point until Rayna Porter made a free throw with 4:08 left in the game, It didnt allow anything from the floor until Kendra Green hit a drive with 1:46 left in the game.
Thats great defense, Tookes said. Thats what were trying to work on, playing great defense.
It worked. Northeast went to halftime shooting just 12 percent from the field (3-for-24) and finished the game shooting just 20 percent from the floor. Pelham forced 24 turnovers and kept the pressure on all night.
Northeast scored half its points from beyond the arc, hitting five 3-pointers, including three by Zyleshia Graham, who opened the game by hitting her first two shots. But Pelham took over and never trailed after that.
The Raiderettes, who finished their season 16-10, were led by Porter (14 points) and Green (10).
Ive got two starters out with fractures and another girl with a torn ACL, said Northeast head coach Cynthia Booker, whose team finished third in Region 4-AA. We were on top of the region. We were 12-2 in the region before the injuries.