The North Hall girls basketball team is returning to the Region 7-3A championship.
The Lady Trojans blitzed Dawson County in the second quarter of Friday’s semifinal matchup, pouring in 25 points in the frame to jump out to a huge halftime lead en route to a 72-51 victory.
The win also guarantees North Hall at least one more game on Lynn Cottrell Court, as the top two seeds out of the region will open the Class 3A state tournament at home.
“It’s very cool,” Lady Trojans coach Kristi House said of opening playoffs at home. “Those seniors love North Hall. They love playing on our home court. ... We’ve got some of the best fans around. It’s a great place to play basketball.”
Grace Hollifield scored 25 points in the contest, hitting on five 3-pointers to help power North Hall to the dominant win.
North Hall struggled a bit offensively to start the game off, but after a relatively quiet opening quarter from both teams, the Lady Trojans all seemed to hit their groove at the same time.
Hollifield, Ansley Smallwood and Maci Gillespie combined to put a quick 6 points on the board with three layups in the first minute of the second frame. Smallwood scored 6 straight on her own later in the period off a putback and a couple of free throws.
Hollifield hit on a deep 3 at about the two-minute mark, then grabbed a steal and finished off a layup to put North Hall on top by 21.
“Grace can score in bunches and in a hurry,” House said. “We’re so fortunate to have her on our team.”
The Lady Trojan defense was just as potent, holding Dawson County to just 3 points in the second quarter until the waning seconds before halftime.
When the dust settled, North Hall held a 38-13 lead as the teams returned to their locker rooms for the intermission.
Hollifield hit another pair of deep 3s right out of the break, pushing the Lady Trojans even further into the lead.
A 13-1 run from Dawson County to finish off the third quarter briefly put the result of the contest in question, but Hollifield connected on her final trey early in the fourth to take the wind out of the Lady Tigers’ sails.
Up next, North Hall will take on Greater Atlanta Christian tonight at 6 p.m. for the Region 7-3A title.