Some players possess the ability to have a special feel for the moment at hand.
Morgan County junior Tatyana Davis showed why she's one of the top players in the state Saturday as she scored 21 points in the second half to will the Bulldogs to a 68-61 win over Maynard Jackson in the GHSA Class AAA Girls Basketball Tournament championship game at the Macon Coliseum.
Morgan County (28-3) led by 10 after a quarter, thanks to 10 points from Davis, and took a nine-point advantage to the locker room, but the Jaguars didn't quit.
Jackson had trimmed the lead to two in the third and missed an opportunity to tie on a blown lay-in before Davis made Jackson pay. She knocked down a three in transition at the other end, followed by another a minute later, and then a steal and score on the ensuing possession. Just as soon as Jackson (30-2) was back in the game, it was back down by double digits and couldn't recover.
The championship is the first for Morgan County since the 1983 season.
Jackson's four wins to earn a berth in the state finals were the program's only postseason victories in its history.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Tatyana Davis: Davis shot 8-of-10 from the floor in the second half on her way to a game-high 32 points. She also contributed nine rebounds, seven steals and two assists.
Erica Gibbons: Jackson's best player in the final, Gibbons posted a double-double with 26 points and 15 rebounds.
Keimeshia Walker: Walker scored 25 points in Jackson's quarterfinal triumph over West Hall, but Morgan County took her completely out of the game Saturday. Walker was visibly frustrated and fouled out in the fourth quarter after shooting just 1-of-14 from the floor thanks to some dubious shot selection.
THEY SAID IT
Morgan County head coach Joshua Reeves on Davis' performance: "She's been locked in, she's been focused and she's been determined. Big players step up in big situations, and this was a big situation. She just came out with ice water in her veins (Saturday). She wanted the ball from the get go."
Reeves on fourth-quarter execution: "The fourth quarter is generally our quarter. Our plus-minus in the fourth quarter this year has been phenomenal."
Reeves on frustrating Walker: "She gets frustrated when you take her away and play no-catch on her. I think we threw six different girls at her (Saturday). All of them are a little different defensively. Some of them are a little more physical, and some of them are quicker."
Morgan County's boys went on to accomplish the double as they also took home a Class AAA title with a 66-56 victory over Jenkins in what was a tight contest until the game's final minute. It was sweet redemption for the Bulldogs (26-4), who had lost on a final-second layup to Jenkins (28-5) in last year's final. Seniors Jailyn Ingram and Jordan Ford combined for 45 points in the win.
Greenforest Christian (30-2) did nothing to discredit the widely held belief that it is the best team in the state regardless of classification, as it dispatched St. Francis 78-66 in the GHSA Class A Private Boys championship. Senior John Ogwuche led four Eagles players in double-figures with 27 points. Five-star guard and Arizona commitment Kobi Simmons posted 31 points in the loss for St. Francis (23-8).
St. Francis wound up splitting with Greenforest on the day, as it claimed a 63-37 win in the Class A Private girls final. Maya Dodson had 22 points and 10 rebounds for St. Francis (31-1), while Jala Jordan added 14 points and 12 boards. Chioma Nnamani had 17 for Greenforest (27-1).