The Lady Trojans outlasted the Lady Buccaneers 67-58 in Saturday’s Class AAA state quarterfinal at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center.
“I am more proud of these girls after this loss than I am of them after any of our other wins this season,” Allatoona coach Michael Taylor said. “We’ve got nothing to be ashamed about, nothing to hang our heads about. We got no acknowledgment — and no accolades from anyone — this season, and nobody expected us to be in the elite eight.”
Before this season, Allatoona (26-5) had never won a state playoff game, let alone reach the quarterfinal round.
The Lady Buccaneers are also assured of having no worse than the third-most wins of any girls basketball team in Cobb County. McEachern won its 31st game Saturday, and Hillgrove can finish with as many as 27 with a state championship.
After reeling off six straight victories and winning the Region 7AAA championship, Allatoona saw its season come to an end by virtue of turning the ball over too often and seeing Region 8AAA champion North Hall (24-7) knock down a plethora of shots from long range. In total, the Lady Trojans finished with six 3-pointers, though they all came in the first three quarters.
North Hall knocked also went 12-of-14 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to stymie the Lady Buccaneers’ rally.
Trailing 52-35 at the end of the third quarter, Allatoona was able to pick up the defensive intensity to create turnovers and prevent the Lady Trojans from getting open looks on the perimeter. Offensively, Allatoona was able to score points in transition and in the paint, which it had done so well during the regular season.
Alexis Ezell led Allatoona with 19 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter, and she also added six rebounds, three steals and one block. Elise Spann and Alyssa Dobson were the only other Allatoona scorers in double figures with 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Taylor Swoszowski led North Hall with 17 points, including a 7-for-8 performance from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Trojans advanced to meet Washington County in Friday’s Class AAA semifinal at the Macon Centreplex.