Trion falls in Sweet 16; Dalton, Murray County, Christian Heritage girls move on

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Trion's Kinzleigh Turner (10), shown looking for her shot in Wednesday's opening-round win over Paideia, had 15 points and six rebounds as the Lady Bulldogs fell to Athens Christian in Friday night's Class A Division I Sweet 16 game.
Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Trion's Kinzleigh Turner (10), shown looking for her shot in Wednesday's opening-round win over Paideia, had 15 points and six rebounds as the Lady Bulldogs fell to Athens Christian in Friday night's Class A Division I Sweet 16 game.

The task was, literally, too tall for the Trion Lady Bulldogs to overcome in Friday night's GHSA Class A Division I girls' basketball Sweet 16 game.

Facing an Athens Christian team with three starters taller than any Trion player, the Lady Bulldogs lost 58-50 at home to end their season at 21-7.

"Our post players had their work cut out for them tonight," said Trion coach Garrett Brown, whose team won its first region championship in two decades last week. "They battled them the whole night and I couldn't be more proud of them and their effort."

While Trion had its hands full with 6-foot-4 Marlene Mbilima and 6-2 Valdie Basana, who combined for 22 points and over 30 rebounds, it was 5-10 senior guard Natalie Goff who ultimately did Trion in.

Goff took advantage of a defense designed to sink into the lane to try and protect the rim against the visiting twin towers. Goff scored 14 of her team-high 16 points in the second half as Athens Christian never let Trion get a lead.

Three times the Lady Bulldogs got within a point in the first four minutes of the final period, but each time Goff answered, twice with 3-point daggers.

"The shooter they had got loose a little more than I wanted and she hurt us," Brown said of Goff. "Overall, I was proud of the way we played; we left it all on the court. I know it didn't go our way, but they won't look back at tonight and say any of them could have given more. Athens Christian is a good team and I wish them the best."

Trion senior guard I'ziah McCutchins had 24 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Kinzleigh Turner added 15 points and six rebounds.

In other action in northwest Georgia, the Dalton, Murray County and Christian Heritage girls advanced to the Elite Eight in their respective classes, while the Sonoraville and Heritage girls were eliminated in Class AAAA.

Dalton (20-9), after a slow start, got past Creekside 70-60 in Class AAAAA behind Grace Ridley's 24 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Kamara Washington scored each of her 14 points in the second half, including eight free throws in the final period as the visitors were trying to rally.

Jolie Wingfield added 10 points and seven rebounds, with BB Bates adding eight points, four rebounds and four blocks for Dalton, which will travel to Arabia Mountain in next week's quarterfinal round. Creekside freshman star C'India Dennis had 30 points, 22 coming in the second half.

Murray County advanced to its second consecutive Class AA Elite Eight with a 46-41 win over Union County in Chatsworth. Callan Ledford led the way with 16 points, including eight of the Lady Indians' (23-6) final 10 points in the last two minutes.

Miley McClure added 11 for the winners, who will travel to Butler in Augusta for the quarterfinal round.

Christian Heritage (18-11), winless two just two seasons ago, made the Class A Division II Elite Eight with a 49-47 win at Lake Oconee County and will travel to Montgomery County next week. Carly Bramlett and Brooklyn Stallion led the Lady Lions with 16 and 14 points, respectively.

Heritage ended its season at 21-7 in Friday's 61-55 loss at Chestatee, while Sonoraville finished 16-13 after falling 64-36 to North Oconee.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com.

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