Te’a Cooper, who had three of McEachern’s nine 3-pointers, scored 11 of her game-high 28 points in the first quarter as the Lady Indians (26-2) jumped to a 24-13 lead. She also had six rebounds, eight assists and five steals, while Jada Lewis contributed two 3-pointers and finished with 10 points, four rebounds and six assists.
Caliya Robinson had a double-double, posting 18 points — including nine in the fourth quarter — to go with 12 rebounds, three assists and six blocks. Taylor Gordon had 13 points and five rebounds, while Aunesha Williams totaled six points, six rebounds, three assists and five steals.
After failing to win a playoff game last year and failing to build off its 2012 state championship, Region 4AAAAAA champion McEachern is back in the semifinals and will face 6AAAAAA runner-up South Forsyth on Saturday in a 6:30 p.m. game at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion. Lowndes and Archer will await on the other side of the bracket.
“When we lost two games in Tennessee, that woke us up,” said Cooper, who was a member of the Lady Indians’ championship team two years ago. “We knew that we couldn’t play as individuals. We had to become a team. Then, after the trip to New York, we came back on a mission.
“We’re ready to play. We’re all leaders on this team and we do everything we need to do to be and play like a team.”
McEachern’s chemistry was on display early. The Lady Indians established their dominance, turning the first quarter into a track meet by getting out on the break in transition after missed shots by Douglas County (23-5) and converting easy field goal attempts at the other end.
Leading 3-2, McEachern scored 10 straight points and maintained an 11-point advantage when Cooper drained a 3-pointer with 9 seconds left in the first period.
Gordon then took over with back-to-back 3-pointers within the first 90 seconds of the second quarter, putting McEachern in front 34-14.
A jumper from Robinson and a 3 from Cooper built a 23-point advantage for the Lady Indians, who led 45-19 at halftime.
“I knew we had scorers with Jada, Te’a, Taylor and Caliya,” McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur said on her team’s prolific offense, which is averaging 93 points in the playoffs. “We were also good inside, but it’s been our bench play that’s made a big difference.
“We’re substituting girls and there hasn’t been a drop-off in production. They’re coming in and stepping up and we don’t have any gaps now. The whole team is getting it done and contributing.”
Two more 3-pointers from Lewis and Cooper put McEachern ahead 50-21 with 6:08 left in the third, but a 3 from Maya Benham ignited a 7-0 run that pulled Douglas County to within 22.
That’s as close as the Lady Tigers would get the rest of the way. McEachern led 60-36 at the end of the third quarter and built a 31-point advantage three times in the fourth.
“One team, one heart — that’s our motto,” Arthur said. “They’re feeding into that. It’s a family, and I appreciate so much how these girls have developed this season.”
Benham led Douglas County with 17 points, including four 3-pointers and eight rebounds. Santasia Faust had 12 points and nine rebounds.