North Hall girls
When: 4 p.m. today
Where: Northwest Georgia Trade Center, Dalton
Records: North Hall (23-7, No. 1 Region 8-AAA); Allatoona (26-4, No. 1 Region 7-AAA)
Coaches: North Hall, Kristi House. Allatoona, Michael Taylor.
Key players: North Hall, G Mary Kate Rushton (5-9, Sr.); G McKenna Rushton (5-10, Sr.), G Taylor Swoszowski (5-6, Sr.). Allatoona, PG Elise Spann (5-10, Jr.), PF Alexis Ezell (5-11, Jr.).
Outlook: This season, North Hall has become accustomed to being the aggressor, winning games with a strong balance on offense. In its second-round game against Carrollton, however, the Lady Trojans had to rely on their defense to fend off a late rally.
It’s likely the defense will have to step up again in order to dispatch of a dangerous Allatoona squad.
The Lady Buccaneers, who have won six consecutive games by an average of 18.5 points, feature a star at the guard position (Spann) and a reliable post (Ezell), two important facets to a dangerous half-court offense.
While it has only one senior on the roster, Allatoona is loaded with junior talent that has given it its best season in school history.
House said her team has watched three of Allatoona’s games on tape and one in person, and she knows what her team is up against.
“They know how to set it up,” she said. “They’ve got a great guard that can really shoot it well and a strong post. We’ve got to be good on defense and play smart.”
That’s something the Lady Trojans do well.
On offense, the game runs through McKenna and Mary Kate Rushton, who average 14 and 13 points per game, respectively. They feature strong point guard play from Swoszowski, who scores nine points and dishes out five assists per game.
Swoszowski’s ability to find her teammates with open looks will be key in the game, and both Rushtons have proven to be reliable from the field.
House also noted the presence of Sarah Paschall as a key to today’s game.
In the win against Carrollton, Paschall provided an important boost on offense, scoring six key points down the stretch.
Perhaps more important, however, is her ability on the boards. She brought down 10 rebounds in that game. Her presence on the boards will go a long way to limiting the Lady Buccaneers’ second-chance opportunities on offense.
House added that she’d like to see her team be able to speed up the game a little, disturbing Allatoona’s preferred half-court game.
“We’re going to press a little and try to speed it up,” she said. “We’re just going to leave it out there.”
If successful, the Lady Trojans will find themselves in the state semifinals, where they will meet the winner of Washington County/Monroe on Friday at the Macon Centreplex.