published Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Lady Cats finally fall—in final

Washington County’s Sheirkerriea Nelson guards Dalton’s Amanda Rector on Saturday in the girls’ Georgia Class AAA state championship in Macon, Ga.
Contributed Photo by Doug Smith
Washington County’s Sheirkerriea Nelson guards Dalton’s Amanda Rector on Saturday in the girls’ Georgia Class AAA state championship in Macon, Ga. Contributed Photo by Doug Smith

GHSA Class AAA Championship in Macon

Dalton 13 11 8 18 — 50

Washington County 12 9 18 23 — 62

Dalton (50) — Amanda Rector 16, April Besley 13, McKinney 2, Howell 8, Thomas 2, Snyder 2, McCurty 7.

Washington County (62) — Allisha Gra 15, Antoine 2, Sheirkerriea Nelson 10, Bloodsaw, Sierra McNure 19, Fathia Bess 12, Brown 4.

3-point goals: Washington County 6 (McNure 6); Dalton 5 (Rector 3, Howell 2). Records: Washington County 32-0; Dalton 32-1.

MACON, Ga.—For the third consecutive season a northwest Georgia team had to settle for a runner-up trophy.

Washington County won 62-50 over Dalton in the battle of Class AAA unbeatens Saturday night at the Macon Centreplex. Washington rallied from a three-point halftime deficit behind the playmaking of Allisha Gray and the 3-point marksmanship of Sierra McNure.

Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe fell in the Class AAA title game in 2009 and Northwest Whitfield lost in the AAAA final last year.

With Dalton focusing most of its defensive attention on the high-scoring Gray, the Lady Hawks (32-0) struggled to score in the first half as April Besley led the Lady Catamounts (32-1) to a 24-21 lead. Besley, Dalton’s high-energy senior guard, scored 12 consecutive points in the half as the Waco defense double-teamed 6-foot-5 center Quaneisha McCurty.

An Amanda Rector 3-pointer at the 3:03 mark of the third period gave Dalton a 29-27 lead. However, Waco answered with a 9-0 run, with Gray scoring the first four points and McNure the last three on the second of her six 3-pointers. She closed out the quarter with another bomb for a 39-32 Lady Hawks lead.

“I saw we were down, and I had to pick it up as a senior,” said McNure, who had a game-high 19 points. “The way they were guarding Allisha, somebody had to come through. This feels great. What a way to go out.”

Said Dalton coach Jeff McKinney of the title game hero: “She had the game of her life, and hats off to Washington County. They’ve got a great ball club. I thought we did a great job of stopping No. 15 (Gray), but she stepped up and made some big 3s in a big ballgame. That was the difference in the ballgame.”

Dalton tried to rally in the final period. McCurty, held to one point through three periods, hit two layups early in the fourth to keep the deficit at seven, but McNure nailed three 3-pointers in the next two minutes to stretch the lead to 13 and end Dalton’s championship hopes.

“We kind of got disappointed when that girl started scoring on us,” McKinney said. “We just didn’t do a good job of guarding her. I told them it was my fault. I take 100 percent blame for it. It was an unbelievable season. Thirty-two and one is a dream season, and there was only one thing we didn’t accomplish.”

Senior guard Rector topped Dalton with 16, with Besley adding 13. McCurty, though slowed offensively, had 16 rebounds and six blocks. Gray added 15 points, Fathia Bess scored 12 and Serikerriea Nelson had 10 for the winners.

about Lindsey Young...

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 ...

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