Ngozi Ware wasnt bothered by the wintry weather this week that caused Wilkinson County to only get in one practice before its game at FPD Friday night.
We wouldve had (more practices), but it wasnt really a big deal with us, Ware said after the Warriors defeated the Vikings 56-49. We knew we had to get this game. It was very important to us.
Ware led Wilkinson County (14-6, 6-1 GHSA Region 7-A) with 15 points and went 9-of-12 at the free-throw line as the Warriors pulled away late in the fourth quarter to secure a key region win and the regular-season sub-region championship.
They knew they were kinda on the line (Friday), so they came out to play together, and they played well, Wilkinson County head coach Jenean Cooper-Bolston said. Im very proud of them.
The Vikings (12-7, 5-2) started the third quarter on a 10-0 run to lead 38-28 after the teams were tied at halftime. They carried the lead into the fourth quarter, until a one-point lead evaporated with 2:30 remaining.
We went on the 10-0 run; then we made a couple of mistakes that we did not need to make, FPD head coach Charley Chase said. And (Wilkinson Countys) just too good a team. Theyre the kind of team where you make a mistake, theyre going to exploit it.
Ware made sure to exploit it, as she stepped to the free-throw line and nailed two shots to give her team a five-point advantage and then made another one with 46.4 left to ice it for the Warriors.
FPD played a good game with us in the first half, but we had to show them what were about in the second half, and thats what we did, Ware said.
The Vikings were on the cusp of an automatic bid to the state tournament, ranked No. 17 and just out of necessary top 16, before the loss.
I can tell you I am as proud of these girls as I can possibly be, Chase said. I told them after the game I am as proud of them after the game as I was before the game.
FPD had three players in double figures, with sophomore Sydney Reese finishing with 15 points despite fouling out in the fourth.
The Wilkinson County boys were also successful against FPD, building on a five-point halftime lead to win 77-55.