East Hall High girls coach Joey Rider doesn’t need a No. 1 seed in the Region 7-AAA tournament. The second-seeded Lady Vikings (19-7) may have more than enough depth to compensate for its lower spot in the bracket.
Eight different players scored for East Hall in the first quarter and 11 scored in the first half, en route to an 82-30 win against White County in the opening round of the region tournament on Monday at East Hall.
Dorreka Faulkner led East Hall with 12 points and three assists. Haley Chapman and Kayneshia Maddox each added 10 points for the Lady Vikings.
With the win, the Lady Vikings advance to face Pickens in the second round at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in Ellijay. Pickens advanced with a 52-33 win against Johnson on Monday at East Hall. The Dragons are coming off a 24-point win against No. 1 seed Gilmer last Friday.
"We know Pickens has good size," Rider said. "They’ve got two big posts, but also their wings and guards are big, too.
"We’ll probably try to play at a fast tempo, probably a little faster than they’ll want to play."
East Hall clinched its first round win against White County early with 3-pointers from Hannah Strickland, Faulkner and
Jasmine Jenkins all in the first 1:09 of the game. Jenkins scored again on a layup, extending the East Hall lead to 26-2 with two minutes left in the opening period. East Hall finished the game with nine 3-pointers.
Clearly, the Lady Vikings didn’t want to leave anything to chance.
"You never expect to jump out to a start like that," Rider added. "But when we play with intensity and shoot well, we can be tough."
The Lady Vikings created many of their baskets by dominating the rebounds. After three missed shots under the basket, Harris put up a layup on the fourth attempt, extending East Hall’s lead to 28-2 in the final minute of the first quarter. East Hall finished the game with 32 total rebounds, including 19 on the offensive end.
White County turned the ball over 31 times. Connor English led the Lady Warriors with 10 points and Jayme Whitfield added eight.
White County’s (3-18) season is now complete.
West Forsyth girls 49, North Hall 43
The Lady Wolverines picked up their first Region 7-AAA tournament win in school history on Monday at East Hall. Megan Whittaker led West Forsyth with 19 points and Kelsey Turchi added 12.
With the win, the Lady Wolverines (14-12) advance to face No. 1 seed Gilmer in the second round at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Ellijay.
"We’re a very new program, so to have this opportunity is huge for program," West Forsyth coach Dennis Benedict said.
The biggest reason for West Forsyth’s victory was the fact it hit 10-of-13 free throws in the fourth quarter. Whittaker hit a pair of free throws with 1:23 left in the game to cap a 10-1 Lady Wolverines’ run, extending their lead to 43-34.
"We missed too many free throws early, but we were great down the stretch," Benedict said.
Following a 3-pointer from North Hall’s McKenna Rushton, West Forsyth’s Nikki Erdely caught a wide-open pass under the basket for a layup. Kassie Baker hit a pair of free throws to give the Lady Wolverines its biggest lead at 48-37 with 1:00 left to play.
Rushton scored a game-high 20 for the Lady Trojans (10-16). Taylor Tate added seven for North Hall in its final game of the season.
Pickens girls 52, Johnson 33
Pickens’ Jazmine Goss turned a close first-half score into a one-sided contest in the fourth quarter on Monday at East Hall.
Tied 17-17 in the final minute of the first half, Goss scored nine in the fourth quarter, sending the Nettes (16-10) into the second round of the Region 7-AAA tournament.
Goss finished with a game-high 23 (15 in the second half). Lindsey Hammontree added eight for the Nettes.
With the win, Pickens moves on to face East Hall (19-7) in the second round at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Gilmer High.
Lindsey Logan hit a 3-pointer for Pickens to extend its lead to 26-17 with 5:09 in the third, ending a 14-0 Nettes run. Logan scored eight in the third quarter and finished the game with 11 points for Pickens.
Carlyn Ivey led Johnson (0-24) with 14 points in its final game of the season.