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Pickens overpowers Chestatee to earn subregion sweep
Chestatee’s Rachel Kelley blocks Pickens County’s Jazmine Goss Monday during a game at Chestatee. - photo by SARA GUEVARA
Class AAA’s sixth-ranked Chestatee girls basketball team proved Monday night that how you finish is sometimes more important that how you start.

After shooting 60 percent from the field on its way to 28 first-half points and a six-point lead, the Lady War Eagles cooled dramatically in the second half, hitting just 30 percent from the field and scoring only 10 points en route to a 41-38 loss to third-ranked Pickens at Chestatee High.

With the loss, Chestatee (14-4, 6-1 Region 7A-AAA) ends a nine-game winning streak, but falla into a tie for the top spot in the subregion standings with Creekview.

“(Pickens) is a good team,” Chestatee coach Web Daniel said. “But we didn’t play well.

“Going into the (region) tournament you need to have lost one. The girls are mad now and we need that edge.”

The Lady War Eagles came out ready for the challenge of facing the No. 3 team in the state as they went 9-of-15 shooting in the first half including 12 points on four 3-pointers by Chelsea Wilson.

They also showed an early aptitude for weathering adversity.

After the Lady Dragons (15-4, 5-2) took their first lead of the game at 11-8 with just under two minutes to go in the first quarter, Chestatee responded with an 11-0 run sparked by five straight points from Melissa Bailey.

Wilson was also a key to the run as she not only started it by hitting a game-tying 3-pointer, but made another trey to make the score 19-11. Bailey followed with another 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.

Wilson finished as the team’s leading scorer with 14 points.

Pickens was able to stay in the game thanks to the play of senior shooting guard Jordyn Hammontree, who matched Wilson shot for shot, scoring 12 points of her own on four 3-pointers in the first half.

The third quarter was the difference in the game, not because the Lady Dragons picked away at Chestatee’s lead, and not because Chestatee stopped hitting shots — the Lady War Eagles were 2 for 6 from the field — but because Lady War Eagles standout Peyton Robertson had to exit the game with four fouls.

In her absence, which lasted what amounted to a quarter of play, Chestatee didn’t make a field goal and Pickens took its first lead since the first quarter.

“(Pickens) had a good gameplan to take Peyton out of the game and to me, her absence was the difference,” Daniel said. “The way we shot the ball in the first half gave us false hope. We were shooting so well that we didn’t use our inside game and weren’t able to build a lead (Pickens) couldn’t come back on.”

When Robertson returned to the game late in the fourth quarter, she made her presence felt immediately, scoring off a pass from
Wilson to give her team a one-point lead.

After Pickens took a three-point lead on two straight layups by Lindsey Hammontree — who was held in check for the better part of the game because of Robertson’s defensive play — Robertson again answered, pulling Chestatee to within one point with 11 seconds remaining.

Unfortunately for the Lady War Eagles, however, that would be as close as they’d get.

Robertson finished the game with 10 points and four rebounds. Bailey added nine for the Lady War Eagles.

Pickens was led by Jordyn Hammontree with 12 points, Lindsey Hammontree with 10 points and Apryl Pettitt with nine points.

Chestatee returns to action at 6 tonight at Johnson. Pickens plays host to Gilmer at 6 tonight.

PICKENS BOYS 59, CHESTATEE 47: The War Eagles led by one point entering the third quarter but were unable to hold the lead or build on it as Pickens outscored them 42-29 over the final two periods on its way to a win Monday night at Chestatee.

Pickens (12-7, 4-3 Region 7A-AAA) was led by Dylan Woodall, who had 20 points including six 3-pointers.

Jordan Shaw added 17 points for the Dragons and Bob Jasperse had 12.

Chestatee was led by Jackson Chandler with 14 points and Lamar Brooks with 10.

Preston Smith and Keelan Passmore added nine points each for the War Eagles (8-11, 3-3).