The Lady Tigers advanced to the semi-finals with a 33-point win (59-26) over Groves High Lady Rebels on Wednesday night. The Tigers, however lost in overtime Tuesday evening against sixth seeded Johnson High, 52-58.
With the hottest talent from the Savannah area coming to Hinesville for the region 3-AAAAA playoffs, basketball fans were fed exciting games and thrilling overtime finishes as the top six teams were whittled down to the final four at Bradwell Institute’s gym.
On Tuesday, the excitement came from the number three Tigers against sixth-seeded Johnson High. In their first two meets, the teams split victories. With a region title on the line, the battle was fierce as Atomsmaher and Region 3-AAAAA player of the year, Jareal Smith, sank a 3-pointer with five seconds left in regulation to force overtime. The Atomsmashers edged out the Tigers, 58-52, and dropped the local boys out of contention.
On Wednesday night, the Lady Tigers took center stage with Lady Tiger Mariah Maternik setting the pace by sinking a 3-pointer to open a 22-6 scoring run in the first quarter. Most of the first quarter scores came off back-to-back-steals by Quintunya Chapman, Maternik, Brtnyii Speight and Camille Jackson. Lady Tiger Seandre Lee scored 22, Maternik chipped in 10.
The Lady Tiger starters and reserve unit all had time on the court and all kept the offense in check. By the close of the third quarter the Lady Tiger squad was up 46-17.
With the win, the Lady Tigers advance to the semi-finals and play Jenkins at 4 this afternoon at Savannah State University.
"We play Jenkins on Friday," Baker said after the win. "We are not looking any further than that right now."
Baker said she was pleased with her squad’s execution on offense and effective defensive. She said the games from here on will keep getting tougher.
"We need to try and maintain our level of intensity," she said. "We need to keep playing well. I was happy that we had the chance to play the reserves for a lot of minutes. Like I always say, anytime the reserves can get in a game, it’s valuable experience for them and something we are going to need as the games get tougher."
Baker said Jenkins has the one-two punch of Alexia Grimes and Iesha Massey. Grimes scored 17 points in the Lady Warriors 41-33 win over Johnson High Wednesday.
With the semi-final games moving to Savannah State, Baker said everyone is on a level and neutral playing field.
"Jenkins is a good team," she said. "I know they are going to be ready to play. You know we played them twice in the regular season and we were able to come out with a win, but, of course, the third time is always going to be tougher. We just have to be ready to play."
The victory against Groves also assured the Tiger girls a berth in the class AAAAA state tournament.
Lady Camden County Wildcats 56, Lady Windsor Forest Knights 3o
Tigers 52, Johnson Atomsmashers 58
Lady Beach High Bulldogs, 47, Lady Savannah High Blue Jackets 27
Beach Bulldogs, 56, Groves Rebels 73
Lady Jenkins Warriors 41, Lady Johnson Atomsmashers 33
Camden County 53, Windsor Forest 50 (OT)
Lady Tigers 59, Groves 26
Savannah High 52, Jenkins 35
All-Region 3-AAAAA Teams Announced
Lady Tiger coach Faye Baker was selected as the Region 3-AAAAA coach of the year by the region coaches as her team continues the chase for a region and possibly a state title. Lady Tiger Seandre Lee made the region’s first team while Mariah Maternik and Brtnyii Speight made the second team selection. For the boys Tiger D.J. Felder made the first team and Derrick Nesbitt made the second team.
Player of the Year - Khalilah Watson (Beach)
Coach of the Year - Faye Baker (Bradwell)
Seandre Lee (BI), Sonia Heyward (Savannah High), Iesha Massey (Jenkins), Monique Willis (Beach) and Katie Fitzgerald (Camden Co.)
Mariah Maternik (BI), Bryttni Speight (BI), Kristen Jones (Camden), Alexia Grimes (Jenkins) and Jeana Knappenberger (Camden)
Player of the year: Jareal Smith (Johnson)
Coach of the year: Tim Jordan (Johnson)
D.J. Felder (BI), Khiry Waldburg (Savannah High), Brandon Mobley (Windsor Forest), Randall Black (Windsor Forest) and Keenan Ready (Groves)
Derek Nesbitt (BI), Darnell Jackson (Savannah High), Deangelo Smith (Camden), Dominique Elliott (Groves) and Antonio Smith (Beach)