Habersham Central girls go 1-2 in region tournament, make playoffs for 1st time since 2016-17 season
It’s official: the Habersham Central High School Lady Raiders are headed to the state basketball tournament, marking the first time since the 2016-17 season the team has advanced to the postseason.
By winning their opening round game of the region tournament against the Gainesville High School Lady Red Elephants Thursday, the Lady Raiders punched their ticket to the playoffs, where they will face the Sprayberry High School Lady Yellow Jackets in the first round.
Following their opening round win, the Lady Raiders dropped their next two tournament games, losing to Lanier High School 45-20 Friday and dropping a close one 57-55 to Winder-Barrow High School Monday afternoon.
Lady Raiders 47, Gainesville 29
The Lady Raiders closed strong in the second half of their opening round game against Gainesville Thursday to win 47-29.
After ending the first quarter with an 11-8 lead, Habersham stretched its lead with a 7-3 run in the second quarter to enter halftime ahead 19-11.
The Lady Raiders outscored the Lady Red Elephants 12-9 in the third quarter and ended the game on a 17-9 fourth-quarter run to coast to victory.
Taylor Wade led the Lady Raiders with 18 points, adding five rebounds, five assists and two steals; Addie Penick finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists, one deflection and two steals; Nykerriah Brown finished with seven points, seven rebounds, three assists and two deflections; Hailey Wade finished with three points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals; Elizabeth Pollitt finished with two points, four rebounds and one assist; Camden Tench finished with two points; Jazky Bantaum finished with two points; and Kelsey Banks finished with one point.
Lanier 45, Lady Raiders 20
The Lady Raiders found scoring much more difficult in their second round matchup against Lanier Friday as they fell 45-20.
Lanier held a 5-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and stretched its lead with a 13-0 run in the second quarter to go into halftime ahead 18-3.
Habersham responded after being shut out in the second quarter by outscoring the Lady Longhorns 13-12 in the third quarter, but Lanier bounced back with a 15-4 run in the fourth quarter to win going away.
Brown led the Lady Raiders with eight points, adding two rebounds and one assist; Hailey Wade finished with five points, one rebound and two deflections; Pollitt finished with four points, one rebound, one assist, two deflections and two steals; and Kelsey Banks finished with three points.
Winder-Barrow 57, Lady Raiders 55
After inclement weather postponed the conclusion of the region tournament Saturday, Winder-Barrow and Habersham played their consolation game Monday in Gainesville, where the Lady Raiders fell just short 57-55.
Habersham opened the game on a tear and took a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, then continued its hot-shooting with a 16-13 run in the second quarter.
The Lady Bulldoggs responded in the second half, though, going on a 21-10 run in the third quarter to take a 46-41 lead. Despite outscoring Winder-Barrow 14-11 in the fourth quarter, the Lady Raiders were unable to overcome to deficit and fell by two points.
Banks led the Lady Raiders with 15 points, adding one deflection; Penick finished with nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and five steals; Brown finished with nine points, eight rebounds and four assists; Taylor Wade finished with eight points, three rebounds and seven assists; Hailey Wade finished with eight points and two rebounds; and Pollitt finished with six points, one deflection and one steal.
Habersham finishes the regular season as the No. 4 seed from Region 8-AAAAAA and will travel to Marietta to play Region 6-AAAAAA No. 1 seed Sprayberry High School this weekend. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday.