Georgia prep roundup: Injuries hurt LFO, Northwest as area girls teams swept in GHSA playoffs

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Lakeview's Angel Simmons (30) drives past a GAC defender for the score. The Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe Lady Warriors fell to the Greater Atlanta Christian School Lady Spartans, 67 to 60, in the quarterfinals of the GHSA state tournament on March 1, 2022.

Sometimes all the practice, preparation and game-planning can go up in smoke in a moment in a basketball game. Just ask the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe Lady Warriors.

A first-half injury to leading scorer Christen Collins altered the game plan and, despite holding a halftime lead, LFO fell at home Tuesday to Greater Atlanta Christian, 67-60, in the quarterfinal round of the GHSA Class AAA playoffs.

Collins, averaging 20 points per game, was hit in the face on a drive with under a minute to play in the first quarter and never returned. Minus the prolific scorer and perimeter defender, the Lady Warriors still used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to build a 21-14 lead and took a 28-27 lead into halftime.

Collins' absence was felt on defense after intermission as GAC guard Jaci Bolden got hot and stayed hot, scoring seven points in the third quarter and 14 more in the final eight minutes to surge ahead and hold off a late LFO rally. Bolden, with the Lady Warriors having to foul to stop the clock, was 8-for-8 from the charity stripe down the stretch.

Christina Collins scored 11 of her team-high 22 points in the final quarter for LFO (28-2), which also received 16 from Angel Simmons and 12 from reserve Ziara Thompson. Kaleigh Addie and Trinity Thomas added 19 and 11 points, respectively, for GAC (24-6).

"Christen is our leading scorer, so it hurt," said LFO coach Dewayne Watkins, whose team rebounded from a winless 2020-21 season. "If you take away their leading scorer the game would be different as well. We had our chances even without Christen but my game plan changed drastically when she went down. We lost a competitor, a top defender, a shooter and our leading scorer.

"I am proud of our team. They battled until the end and the future is bright here at LFO."

LFO's loss was part of an 0-4 quarterfinal showing for northwest Georgia's girls teams Tuesday, with Northwest Whitfield falling at Baldwin in Class AAAA, 57-46, Heritage losing at Marist, 36-16, also in Class AAAA and Chattooga going down at Rabun County, 73-34, in Class AA.

A key injury also hampered Northwest Whitfield after Emma Hayes went down with a leg injury just before halftime. Hayes had hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter as the Lady Bruins (21-10) built a 16-10 edge. Northwest still led 25-24 at the half but the offense was not the same after Hayes' injury.

"Right before the half she came down funny on her leg and may have broken it," said Northwest Whitfield coach Bob Williams, who added Hayes was taken to a local hospital and will remain their tonight. "The girls were so torn up, too, because they are so close, but they wanted to keep playing for Emma."

Tamia Smith had 11 of her team-high 16 points in the third quarter to lead Baldwin (26-2), followed by Kassidy Neal with 13, Janaye Walker with 12 and Madison Ruff with 11. Whitley Chumley led Northwest with 16 points.

Heritage (20-9) fell victim to one of the state's best defenses at Marist, a team that regularly holds teams under 30 points. Avery Fontucci scored 23 points as the War Eagles (26-3) led by 15 after one quarter and 30-8 at the half. Macie Collins led Heritage with five points.

Chattooga ran into a buzzsaw at Rabun County as Sophie Woodard scored 17 of her game-high 24 points in the opening eight minutes as the hosts built a 26-11 lead and never looked back. Gracie Deetz added 22 for the 23-5 winners, while Makiya Parrish led the Lady Indians (17-14).

BASEBALL

> Calhoun 17, Rockmart 4: Andon Lewis and Andrew Purdy each had two hits, drove in a combined nine runs and each hit a homer as the Yellow Jackets improved to 9-0.

> Dade County 9, Ider 0: Brodie Swader went four hitless innings and struck out five, while Nolan Heath went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs for the 3-2 Wolverines.

> Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 5, Northwest Whitfield 3: The Warriors scored three runs in the seventh inning on three walks, two hit batters and a catcher's interference call to improve to 3-2. Will Carroll had two hits and two runs scored, while Chris Kelley and Dylan Blankenship each knocked in two runs. Northwest ace Cade Fisher allowed two hits and struck out 12 and walked six batters in 5 innings.

> Trion 3, Adairsville 1: Jase Mason allowed one run in five innings while also knocking in a run for the Bulldogs, who also got two hits and an RBI from Cayden Watson.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com; follow him on Twitter @youngsports22