published Friday, February 24th, 2012

Dade County sees shot to top East Hall

GHSA Girls' First Round Matchups Today


Class AA

Dade County (23-5) at East Hall (23-3), 6

Rabun County (22-5) vs. Calhoun (22-5) at Adairsville, 7

Class A

Pace Academy (21-6) at Gordon Lee (25-3), 6

Trion (11-18) at St. Francis (23-5), 6

TRENTON, Ga. -- As a rule, No. 4 seeds rarely survive to play beyond the first weekend of the Georgia state basketball tournament. But there are always exceptions to the rule, and if there is to be one in the Class AA girls' bracket this season, it's likely to be Dade County.

The 21-5 Lady Wolverines are not typical four-seed fodder. Dade, ranked in the top 10 most of the season, lost to top-ranked Model by nine points and to ranked River Ridge by a point in last week's Region 7-AA tournament.

The Lady Wolverines have not lost a game to a team with under 20 wins, a fact that gives them a bit of confidence as they head to third-ranked East Hall (23-3) for tonight's first-round game.

"It's disappointing to be a No. 4 seed, but we played two really good teams tough and we gained some confidence out of it," junior post Ansley Chilton said. "We've had a great season, and if we keep our minds right we can play with anyone."

East Hall, the Region 8 champion, is led by Vanderbilt signee Jasmine Jenkins and Georgia State-bound post Harlee Grogan. The athletic Lady Vikings feast on teams that try to press, so Dade will likely alter its usual defensive game plan and make them work for points.

"They've got some great athletes, so we'll focus on shutting them down and we may play more zone instead of pressing all the time," Chilton said. "Our defense has been our strong point all season, and even though we haven't shot the ball well lately, our defense has kept us in games."

The young Lady Wolverines, who have just two seniors, have a strong inside-out attack focusing on guards Erika Woodfin and Holly Gross to go with the six-foot Chilton. Dade coach Randy Watson feels his team, despite the disappointing past week, is ready for tonight's challenge.

"Our region is so tough that I don't feel the girls will be afraid of anything from here out," Watson said. "We've played good people and we've played hard. The thing about this team is that the girls have played hard defensively every game. We've allowed more than 50 points only four times this year.

"The key for us, though, is we have to shoot better than we have recently. If we do, we can get it done."

about Lindsey Young...

Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...

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