Excel won its first game of the year, Cass its first game in several seasons against Dalton, Adairsville grabbed its second region victory in as many tries and Woodland knocked off Lithia Springs.
Excel 62, LaFayette 59
Excel Christian Academy stepped up three divisions and trailed by 13 points at halftime but still found a way to defeat LaFayette, 62-59, on the road.
Excel had worked itself into a three-point lead with 18 seconds left when LaFayette hit a trey to knot the contest at 58-all.
Then Miriam Hibbard buried a 2-pointer and the Lady Ramblers hit a free throw to close to 60-59.
Bekah Bell then buried two clutch free throws to close out scoring.
Eric Harris, head coach, said his team just kept fighting and clawing its way back and snatched the win in the game’s final minute.
“I’m proud we never gave up,” Harris said. “There was a time where we probably would have. [The game] was close early and they started pulling away. They had 34 points at halftime and we had 21. In the third quarter we outscored them 24-11. We outscored them 17-14 in the last quarter.”
Andrea Taylor lead the Lady Eagles with 26 points.
Hibbard dropped in 20 points for Excel in what coach Harris said was “probably her best game of the year.”
Bell tallied 11 points for the winning cause.
Harris said it was a good win.
“It was a team effort,” he said. “Everyone played hard and played their role. Being 0-5 and getting that win on the road against a AAAA school shows we’re still fighting and hopefully getting better every day.”
Excel returns to the hardwood Saturday when it visits Fellowship Christian. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m.
Cass 72, Dalton 67
Kelsey Wright hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie Cass High’s game at 57-all, and then the Lady Colonels turned on their offensive engines and defeated Dalton in overtime Tuesday night, 72-67.
Rejiyah Burley scored 22 to lead the Lady Colonels while Wright dropped in 13 points.
“It was a great win for the program,” head coach Jamie Horton said. “I’m not sure how long it’s been since we’ve beaten Dalton, but it’s been quite a while.”
Dalton started the night with some deadly shooting, grabbing a 24-19 lead after a quarter of play.
The Lady Colonels responded by playing zone defense in the second frame and then started switching defenses the rest of the way to frustrate the shooting touch of the Lady Catamounts.
Cass outscored Dalton in the second period, 18-13, and the teams entered the break tied at 37-all.
Dalton slipped into the lead at 48-47 after three quarters of play and Cass caught them in the final quarter.
Horton said the Lady Cats were tough the entire night. “They shot the ball really well tonight,” he said.
He said Wright hit a big-time shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
“She did a really good job for us,” he said. “She’s worked out really hard over the summer and fall and made herself into a good basketball player.”
Hannah Kirkpatrick poured in 8 points for the Cass cause.
Cass improved to 5-4 on the year. The Lady Colonels next play Ridgeland on Friday night. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.
Adairsville 39, North Murray 33
The Adairsville Lady Tigers won a tough-and-tumble contest with host North Murray Tuesday in high school girls basketball action.
The 39-33 victory improved Adairsville’s record to 3-3 overall, 2-0 in Region 5-AAA.
“It was a tough game. This is a tough gym to play in,” Lady Tigers coach Meredith Barnhill said. “It was a grinder. We just had to grind it out. Neither team played well. We just made some better decisions than they did [down the stretch].”
Leading 27-25 entering the fourth quarter, Adairsville outpaced the Lady Mountaineers, 12-8, to win by six.
Julia Roberson’s 12 points led the way for the Lady Tigers while Stephanie Kuhrt added 11 points and six rebounds. Other Adairsville scorers included Paige Cole, 5; Mallorie Collum, 4; Kelsy Hice, 4; Lexi Adams, 2; and Victoria Davis, 1.
North Murray held the early advantage, scoring 10 points in the first quarter while keeping the Lady Tigers to eight points in both quarters for a slim 17-16 halftime lead.
“It was a very low energy-type game,” Barnhill acknowledged.
Adairsville pick up its play after the break to eclipse the double-digit scoring mark in the third quarter en route to the region win.
The Lady Tigers have won three straight games. They next play host to cross-county rival Cartersville (4-1, 1-0), which won its fourth straight Tuesday against Sonoraville. Tipoff is 7 p.m. for Friday’s game between Adairsville and the Lady Purple Hurricanes.
Woodland 44, Lithia Springs 33
Woodland did its imitation of a road warrior and picked up its fourth region win again Lithia Springs, 44-33, in a low-scoring defensive struggle Tuesday night.
The Lady Wildcats took a small lead early, going up 7-6 after a quarter of play. That lead stretched at half time to 17-13 and grew to 29-18 after three quarters of play.
Both teams scored 15 points in the final frame.
Kyle Morgan, head coach of the Lady Wildcats, said both teams came to play and he was pleased with the outcome.
“It’s a big win for us to go there to their place and get a win,” he said. “It was a really physical game and our girls played hard and left it all out there on the court and got the result they wanted. It was a game where a bunch of small plays added up to a win. It took everyone playing together.”
Aubri Branch led the Lady Wildcats in scoring with 15 while Marissa Dubose dropped in 12 and Sydney Boyd chipped in eight points.
Morgan said all his players played hard, adding that their contributions were “just as important as the players who scored more points.”
“This was a good win and hopefully we can build on it,” he added.
Woodland improved to 6-2 on the season and is 4-1 in the region.
Woodland next plays on Friday against Villa Rica. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.
The Lady Wildcats play Cass on Saturday. Tipoff is at 6 and 7:30 p.m.
Woodland then plays Adairsville on Monday in the Rome News Christmas Festival.
— Daily-Tribune staffers David Royal and Chike Nwakamma contributed to this report.