DALTON, Ga.—If she hadn’t already done so, Quaneisha McCurty firmly established herself as the single most disruptive force in Georgia girls’ Class AAA basketball Saturday.
Recording a triple-double with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocked shots, the 6-foot-5 Dalton center was much more than St. Pius X could handle in a 50-36 Lady Catamounts win in the state quarterfinal round at the Northwest Georgia Trade Center.
Dalton (31-0) advances to the semifinals in Macon, where it will face Westover (25-4) at 4 p.m. Friday. The final is set for Saturday at 7.
It didn’t take long Saturday for McCurty to establish herself in the lane. Facing the smaller Lady Lions (25-6), who did not have a player over 6 feet, the Lady Cats came in determined to feed the future Louisville player. She scored eight points in the opening period and seven in the second, most coming on set plays where she would flash in front of the goal and get a quick pass.
“That was something we felt like we could take advantage of,” Dalton coach Jeff McKinney said. “If they were going to guard us man-to-man, we were going to get her the basketball. The girls looked for her and Quan did a good job of scoring down low. She loves big games.”
While McCurty was having her way offensively, she also set the tone at the other end, blocking two shots in the first half and altering many more. St. Pius X, which relies heavily on its defense, managed just six first-half points and trailed 22-6 entering the second period. The Lady Lions shot 11 percent in the first half.
“She had a lot to do with that,” St. Pius coach Kyle Snipes said. “She changed the trajectory of the shots when we got in there. And then you’re going to get a little skittish. The big thing is, she doesn’t have to leave her feet, which means you can’t shot-fake her. She just stays on her feet and makes the play. I knew we were in trouble after the first few minutes.”
The Lady Lions started doubling McCurty even without the ball in the second half, which opened things up outside. Annie Kate Snyder’s 3-pointer with 1:56 left in the third pushed Dalton’s lead to 36-14, but St. Pius had one last run in it. A 9-0 spurt to start the final period got the lead down to 11, but McKinney settled his team and called for a set inbounds play that got the ball to McCurty going hard to the basket for two points.
Dalton scored the next five points to end any comeback hopes.
“They got hot there for a while,” McCurty said of St. Pius, which hit five 3-pointers in the second half. “That layup, while I don’t think it shifted momentum, it did let us breathe a bit. I just tried to play as big as possible today. I knew I had a huge height advantage over them, so I wanted to block some shots and play big.”
Maddie Howell added 10 points for Dalton, while Dylan Krause topped St. Pius with 11.
• Class A quarterfinal: At Marietta, Holli Wilkins — daughter of former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and NBA standout Gerald Wilkins — led four double-figure scorers with 15 points as top-ranked Wesleyan defeated Gordon Lee 78-43. Holli Brooks with 12 was the only double-digit scorer for the Lady Trojans, who ended their season 24-7. Lil Bradbury and Lesslie Bohannon had nine and eight points.
GHSA Class AAA Quarterfinal at Northwest Georgia Trade Center, Dalton
DALTON 50, ST. PIUS X 36
Dalton 11 11 15 13 — 50
St. Pius X 2 4 11 19 — 36
Dalton (50) — Rector 7, Stinnet, Besley 2, McKinney 3, Maddie Howell 10, Behr, Thomas, Snyder 5, Quaneisha McCurty 23, Sharp.
St. Pius X (36) — T. Krause, McKenna, Ucinksi 2, Dylan Krause 11, Bean 6, Garnson 1, Standard, Payne 8, O’Donnell, Schneider 2, Elliott 6.
3-point goals: Dalton 2 (Howell, Snyder); St. Pius 6 (D. Krause 2, Bean 2, Payne 2). Other highlights: McCurty 14 r, 10 b (D). Records: Dalton 31-0; St. Pius X 25-6.
GHSA Class A at Marietta, Ga.
WESLEYAN 78, GORDON LEE 43
Gordon Lee 11 7 12 13 — 43
Wesleyan 23 20 17 18 — 78
Gordon Lee (43) — Holli Brooks 12, Bradbury 9, L. Bohannon 8, Blevins 4, Lee 4, Quinn 2, Robertson 2, Barger 2, O’Neal, Chambers, Kimbrell, Hartline, A. Bohannon, Holcomb.
Wesleyan (78) — Holli Wilkins 15, Katie Frerking 13, Brittany Stevens 10, Taylor Blackmon 10, Vaughn 9, Causwell 8, Byrd 4, Edwards 3, Belcher 3, Frazier 3.
3-point goals: Gordon Lee 1 (Brooks); Wesleyan 11 (Blackmon 3, Stevens 3, Wilkins 2, Belcher, Frazier, Frerking). Records: Wesleyan 29-2; Gordon Lee 24-7.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...