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Wheeler's 30 points gives East Hall a road playoff win

POSTED: March 6, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Sada Wheeler and visiting East Hall kept hope that a state title repeat could happen on Saturday afternoon, beating Dunwoody 54-44.

Wheeler had 30 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks in a dominating performance, one that left first-year Lady Vikings coach Joey Rider impressed.

"Since I have been here, this is the best she has played," he said.

"It meant a lot to this team for her to come out and perform like she did."

With the win, East Hall advances to take on the No. 1 seed out of Region 8-AAA, fourth-ranked Franklin County on Wednesday in Carnesville in a rematch of last season's state title game.

Wheeler got off to a hot start, scoring the tenth-ranked Lady Vikings' first 12 points, and helping the team to a 17-16 first quarter lead. Dunwoody had no answer to Wheeler, who ran the break well and got a bunch of easy layups thanks to her inside presence, giving her 22 first-half points.

Wheeler got into a little trouble when she was double and triple-teamed, but she started moving the ball and making it difficult for Dunwoody to get to her in time.

The Wildcats took an early 5-4 lead off a Kristin Nash 3-pointer, but that would prove to be their only lead of the game.

East Hall outscored Dunwoody 12-6 over the next eight minutes, and the Lady Vikings took a 29-22 halftime lead.

Dunwoody looked to be on a mission in the third quarter, constantly pressing and hounding the guards of East Hall, but could never come closer than five points. The Lady Vikings turned the ball over constantly and let the Lady Wildcats hang around for the rest of the game, but were able to slowly pull away towards the end.

East Hall had 21 turnovers in the game.

"Overall, I think the team played very well." said Rider. "We did have too many turnovers. Dunwoody put a lot of pressure on us."

The guards of East Hall seemed to handle the pressure well in the first half, but started committing more turnovers as the game got more physical down the stretch.

"That is state tournament basketball," said Rider of the physical play in the second half. "They will let you play. It was very physical, but I think our girls handled it pretty well."

East Hall had some trouble getting the ball to Wheeler in the second half, and she was only able to score eight points in the final two quarters. She came up limping with a minute left in the game, and did not return.

Dunwoody’s defense continued to cause problems for the Vikings late into the game, and East Hall did not have a field goal in the final 5:30 of the game.

Tierra Benton chipped in ten points and five blocks for East Hall.

Sonata Chester scored all seven of her points in the fourth quarter to assist in holding off the Lady Wildcats' rally.

"We can compete with anyone when we play our best. Sada had a great game, but we also have a lot of girls who can play, too."



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