The Arlington Christian Eagles advanced to the championship game of the GISA Class AA playoffs with a 59-42 victory over Terrell Academy on Thursday night at Hawkins Arena.
“I’m excited for our seniors,” Arlington Christian head coach Lady Grooms said. “They have shown so much leadership, and I am just excited. It was a good game, but we fought to win and they deserve it.”
Despite three senior starters on the floor for both teams, the game was dominated offensively by Arlington eighth-grader Rakeah Williams, who led all scorers with 27 points. Nineteen of those came in the second half as Arlington blew open a closely contested game.
“Our eighth-grader was the difference,” Grooms said. “When you get three and four offensive rebounds and those three-point plays, that breaks your back. Our other post player who has signed with Mercer (Ana Anderson) was injured, and she was rusty, so our eighth-grader stepped up big. The last six games she’s probably averaged 18 points.”
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Arlington enjoyed a noticeable size advantage, and it dominated on the glass, with a 42-22 rebounding edge.
“That was the mismatch,” Grooms said. “We were bigger than them. They are very fundamental and very structured. They are a well-coached team, but they just couldn’t handle Rakeah down low. She’s young, and she doesn’t really know what she’s doing yet, but she’s going to be a player. We just kept going back to her.”
Further illustrating the Eagles’ commitment to score in the post, Arlington Christian attempted just three 3-point shots in the game, all coming in the first half. Terrell converted 2-of-17 from behind the 3-point line.
Arlington will square off against Westwood in the championship game, after it defeated Gatewood in the other semifinal contest.
“We’ve got a difficult matchup with Westwood because they are so athletic and quick,” Grooms said. “I’m just proud of these girls that we’re in this position.”