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North Hall holds off Chestatee rally to secure spot in 8-AAAA semifinals
Lady Trojans (16-10) will play in state tournament for sixth straight season
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Chestatee's Kayla Watson (20) dribbles around North Hall's Chloe Barrett (15) during Wednesday's game in the first round of the 8-AAAA tournament at Buford High School. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Niki Carver said her North Hall team wanted to “come out fighting” to exact revenge against the team that had beaten them on Senior Night just over a week ago.

The Lady Trojans did just that, outscoring Chestatee 8-0 in the final minute Wednesday afternoon at Buford High to complete a 60-48 win and secure a spot in the Region 8-AAAA semifinals.

North Hall will next play the winner of White County/Buford on Friday at Stephens County High in Toccoa. Tip time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“We were really excited,” said Carver, who scored 14 points. “This was a big rival game, so we wanted to come out for it. They came to our house and beat us on Senior Night on the last day of the season, so we wanted to come out fighting.”

With the victory, North Hall (16-10) has qualified for the state playoffs for the sixth straight season.

The Lady Trojans opened up a 9-0 run to pull away in the second quarter, then held on late in the fourth as the Lady War Eagles (12-14) cut the lead to just four points with 58 seconds to go.

But North Hall sank 11 of its 14 free throws in the final eight minutes to secure the victory against last year’s 8-AAAA region runner-up.

Lindsey Caudell recorded 15 of her game-high 26 points as Chestatee fought to extend its season. The sophomore shooting guard nailed a jumper with less than a minute left to cut the lead to 52-48, but Chestatee was unable to convert on its final three scoring opportunities, including two free throws.

“I was really proud of our defensive effort,” said North Hall coach Kristi House. “We did a lot better today. With Carver in the first half, we thought she was unstoppable, so we tried our best to feed her inside. These kids believe in each other.”

Sadie Cleveland also scored 14 points for the Lady Trojans, while Camilla Howell (10 points) and Tatum Mcquillen (10 points) helped bolster a strong team effort.

The War Eagles sank eight 3-pointers in the first half during their Feb. 2 win, but found no such rhythm against the Lady Trojans on Wednesday.

Chestatee’s shooters were outscored 14-7 in the second quarter, a mismatch they could not make up down the stretch.

Chestatee will graduate just one senior, Kayla Watson (5 points) in the offseason. Peri Satterfield (6 points) was the next highest scorer after Caudell, followed by Brooklyn Popham (5 points).

Carver, a verbal commit to Ohio State University for softball, said her team will focus on cutting out turnovers late in games.

“We talk about that after every game,” said Carver. “It’ll be something we need to cut out, for sure.”

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