Even though North Hall’s ninth-ranked girls stayed at the top of the Region 8-4A standings after beating Cherokee Bluff 42-39 on Tuesday, there wasn’t a lot of celebration on its side for pulling out a 42-39 win in Gainesville.
Lady Trojans (18-5, 10-2 Region 8-4A) freshman Genesis Satterfield knocked down a basket and foul shot with 1:10 left to play to retake a 40-39 lead, then hit two free throws with 7 seconds left to help her team escape with a crucial subregion win, after leading by as much as 18 points in the third quarter.
However, it was a subdued mood after the final whistle and all of the final two quarters for North Hall.
Late in the second period, senior Kristina Peach, the program’s leading scorer, went to the floor with a knee injury. She came out in the second half on crutches and had an ice pack on her knee and didn’t come back in the game.
She is scheduled for an MRI on Wednesday to determine if it’s a season-ending injury, her coach Eric Herrick said.
“When she went down, I was sick to my stomach,” Herrick said.
All season, Peach has been the leader of the Lady Trojans program.
With her potentially done for the remainder of the season, it’s experienced bunch will have to band together in order to make the postseason.
“It’s going to be a learning experience for us from here on out,” Herrick added.
Once Peach exited the game, North Hall was still able to add to its nine-point lead at the half.
Early in the third quarter, Ameila Shoemaker had a basket to make it a 12-point North Hall lead.
Then Braelyn McCall and Shoemaker both knocked down 3-point baskets to give the Lady Trojans its biggest lead of the game at 33-15.
However, Cherokee Bluff (13-9, 6-5) didn’t go down without giving it all they had in the fourth quarter.
In fact, Claire Carlson’s 3-pointer with just under 2:00 remaining put the Lady Bears ahead 39-38.
To close the big gap, Emma Reynolds knocked down a pair of jump shots for Cherokee Bluff, cutting the deficit to six points with 4:10 left to play.
Audrey Graham followed with a basket for the Lady Bears, then Kaitlin Cook came through with a field goal to get to within a shot of the lead.
However, Satterfield’s persistence in the final minute was enough to help North Hall leave its gym with victory.
Even if Peach is done for her career, Herrick has no doubt that her teammates will rally if she’s not on the court.
“Nobody loves basketball as much as Kristina,” Herrick said. “If we didn’t have anything to play for before, now we do.”
Shoemaker finished with a game-high 17 points for the Lady Trojans, while Satterfield had nine points and nine rebounds.
Peach had eight points before leaving the game.
Up next, North Hall visits East Forsyth on Friday. Cherokee Bluff visits Chestatee on Friday.
CHEROKEE BLUFF BOYS 80, NORTH HALL 74 (OT): Logan Holmes had a team-high 22 points and Boston Kersh had 18 for the Bears (16-7, 9-4 Region 8-4A), who remained in first place in the subregion with two regular season games remaining.
For North Hall (12-11, 6-7), Cole Hulsey had a game-high 31 points and Luke Sanders finished with 16 points.
Also in double figures, JT Chester had 13 points for the Trojans.