Six of the 11 Cobb County girls basketball teams that made it into the state playoffs advanced following last week’s action.
Region 3AAAAAAA is well-represented with McEachern, Hillgrove and Marietta advancing, while fourth-seeded Campbell was the lone local program from Region 2AAAAAAA that moved on. Harrison and Pope advanced in Class AAAAAA.
All but McEachern will play their second-round games tonight at 6 p.m. Led by Jasmine Carson, Chanel Wilson and Jewel Smalls, the region champion Lady Indians will host Region 1AAAAAAA runner-up Tift County on Thursday at 6 p.m.
An all-county game featuring Campbell at region runner-up Hillgrove highlights the slate.
Campbell rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 51-49 at Region 1AAAAAAA champion Lowndes. Jada Alston’s play and Jadyn Rice’s free-throw shooting down the stretch helped seal the win.
Michelle Smith, Laren VanArsdale and Taylor Thompson spurred Hillgove to a 20-point victory over Roswell.
Hillgrove won 67-48 at Campbell in the first week of December.
“It’ll be a battle,” Campbell coach Randy McClure said. “Hillgrove’s a well-coached team, and I hope we’ll be able to keep up with team and hang around at the end.”
McClure said Hillgrove can beat a team in a lot of ways.
“They have three good guards and they pressure you a lot,” he said. “They’re a quick, well-rounded team that’s coached well, and they’re good around the basket.
“We’re going to have to take care of the ball, and what I like about us right now is, when things don’t go well, we continue to fight. Hopefully, we can take that attitude on the road again because Hillgrove is a tough place to win.”
Hillgrove coach Susan Milam graduated from the original Campbell High School, where she played for coach Sheryl Fowler. Milam was then a longtime Fowler assistant at McEachern and Hillgrove before succeeding Fowler as the Lady Hawks’ coach in 2012.
“I know the brand of basketball they play,” McClure said. “Coach Milam will have them ready and champing at the bit.”
Third-seeded Marietta, which beat Region 4AAAAAAA runner-up Woodstock 79-45 last week, will be at Region 2AAAAAAA champion Westlake tonight. Taylor Smith, Lauren Walker and Charlay Conway fueled the Lady Blue Devils to the first-round win.
Marietta has outscored its last five opponents by an average score of 56.4-40.
“We’re really excited about this matchup,” Marietta coach Mike Marchese said of facing 26-1 Westlake, the top-ranked team in the state according to MaxPreps and 14th nationally by espnW. “I think the girls are peaking at the right time. We’re doing the right things better, and I feel good about our chances against anybody we play.
“What’s really good is how we’re making things tough for our opponents on defense. We can’t give Westlake easy buckets in transition. It will become apparent early if we can or can’t do that. If we can stop them, we’ll be there in the fourth quarter.”
Region 6AAAAAA champion Harrison beat South Paulding 79-39 in the first round, led by Sarah Woghiren, Audrey Jordan and Harper Vick. The Lady Hoyas will host Region 8AAAAAA runner-up Lanier in the second round.
Region 7AAAAAA runner-up Pope will travel to Region 5AAAAAA champion Douglas County after sisters Teya and Cheyenne Holloman led the Lady Greyhounds to a 62-56 first-round win over Dacula.
“There are three things we hope to get from the girls: how well they execute the game plan, how well we share the ball and incredible hustle plays,” Pope coach Bill Blythe said. “That’s what we saw against Dacula, and we need to see that again against Douglas County.”