The Gainesville High girls converted six straight one-and-one free throws in the final 1:15 of the fourth quarter to top Winder-Barrow 45-36 Saturday afternoon in the Region 8-AAAAA consolation game at Winder-Barrow High in Winder.
With the victory, the Lady Red Elephants finished in third place at the 8-AAAAA tournament, earning a No. 3 seed in next week’s state tournament.
Shikiya Brown led all scorers with 17 points, Breana Fair and Taylor Hawks both added 10 points each and Kayla Kelly rounded up the scoring with eight, including four made free throws on two trips to the charity stripe.
Gainesville (18-6) lost two of its last four games heading into Saturday’s consolation round, but picked up its play at the right time, according to Gainesville coach Brenda Hill-Gilmore.
“I know they were disappointed from last night’s (loss to Loganville in the 8-AAAAA semifinals), but it’s win or go home at this point. They need to play like this is their last game, because now it will be like that.”
Winder-Barrow (22-6) was led in scoring by Lexi Maddox (10 points) and Olivia Nelson-Ododa (8 points).
Both teams were tied 28-28 entering the fourth quarter, but Gainesville outscored its hosts 17-8 in the final eight minutes. Kelly knocked down four straight foul shots before Fair finished off the last two, with 10.8 seconds to go.
Winder-Barrow missed its final four shots in the final minute as the Lady Bulldoggs searched in vain for a response that wouldn’t come.
Winder-Barrow will enter the state tournament with a No. 4 seed.
Gainesville made it to the state quarterfinals in the 2014-15 season before falling to Mays High.