AUGUSTA -- Alexis Pierce didn't have a single point in the first half of Thursday's GHSA Class AAA Tournament quarterfinal against Peach County.
The final three points of her eight-point night, however, meant everything.
The 5-foot-9 junior guard delivered when she absolutely had to, nailing a 3-pointer from the top of the key in the closing seconds to give Johnson a 46-43 victory at Augusta's Christenberry Fieldhouse, ending Peach County's season.
Peach County, which led by eight at halftime, finishes with a 27-3 record. Florida State-bound Nausia Woolfolk had 13 points, but she failed to make a field goal in the final 15 minutes.
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FIVE WHO MATTERED
Sy'Marieona Williams: The 5-1 sophomore point guard was the shortest player on the court, but she turned the game in Johnson's favor late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. Thirteen of her team-high 19 points came as part of a 13-2 run in a stretch of three minutes and 20 seconds. By the time she was done, a nine-point Peach County lead turned into a two-point Johnson edge.
Giana Copeland: The 6-4 sophomore didn't score a single point for the Atomsmashers (25-6), but her five blocks -- especially the final one -- were decisive.
Olivia Owens: She went 6-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter to help Johnson keep pace with Peach County down the stretch.
Jordan Davis: The senior guard helped pick up for Woolfolk offensively with 13 points, hitting a 3-pointer with 1:40 to go that gave the Trojans a 43-41 lead.
Danasia Shaw: The Peach County freshman scored 12 points off the bench.
Copeland blocked Alexia Green's shot in the paint with 20 seconds to go. Owens gathered the rebound and made an outlet pass to Ashleigh Simmons, setting up the Johnson offense for Pierce's game-winner with three seconds remaining. Amid the celebration, Peach County didn't call timeout -- it had two remaining -- and time expired.
"Bubbles" to the rescue: Williams, nicknamed "Bubbles," simply got the best of Peach County during Johnson's second-half run. She had two steals during that stretch, picking up points off those while also getting baskets in transition.
Woolfolk simply cold: Woolfolk made her first shot of the second half -- 57 seconds in -- while being fouled. She missed the ensuing free throw, setting the stage for a half in which nothing fell for her. She missed her final 13 shots while going 2-for-4 from the line.
Freshman to the rescue: Shaw scored 11 of her 12 points after halftime.
THEY SAID IT
Pierce on her game-winner: "We were looking for an open shot. We were really looking for a layup, but time was running down. I had to take a shot."
Johnson head coach Brandon Lindsey on Williams' impact: "(Her) steal was what sparked us. We were down 10, and she stole the ball and made a lefty layup. That was the spark, right there."
Johnson on taking on Peach County: "We wanted to take their best ballhandlers out of the game. Woolfolk is all-world. All-world."
Peach County head coach Maxine Cherry on Johnson's comeback: "The game kind of flip-flopped. I think we got too relaxed, and they got a little momentum on us. We couldn't get it back going."