published Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Gordon Lee's Lady Trojans in Class A semifinal

By James Beach
  • photo
    Gordon Lee's Taylor Hartline (21) drives the lane past Seminole's Candace Barber (12). Seminole County visited Gordon Lee in a GHSA Class A public school girls' state quarterfinal.
    Photo by Robin Rudd.
    enlarge photo

GORDON LEE 73, SEMINOLE COUNTY 68

Seminole County 20 17 15 14 — 68

Gordon Lee 18 19 14 22 — 73

Seminole County (68) -- Ke. Shirley 7, Hopkins 3, Patrice Barnes 23, Barber 5, Katrese Brown 24, Mike, Watson 6.

Gordon Lee (73) -- Ti. Hartline 3, Clayton 4, Weldon 9, Kimbrell 2, Taylor 2, Katie Barger 19, Weldon 4, Kassidy Blevins 30.

3-point goals: Seminole 9 (Barnes 4, Brown 3, Barber, Shirley); Gordon Lee 7 (Blevins 4, Barger 3). Other highlights: Blevins 10 a, 8 r, 5 s; Kimbrell 9 r (GL). Records: Gordon Lee 23-7; Seminole 17-9.

CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — Gordon Lee girls' basketball coach Lester Galyon was a lot of things Tuesday night after the Lady Trojans moved into the Georgia High School Association's Class A Final Four for the first time in school history, but surprised was not one of them.

After a scary final 30 seconds, he mostly was relieved.

The Lady Trojans (23-7) rode another monster game from senior Kassidy Blevins to move into Friday's Class A public school semifinals by holding off a gutsy Seminole County squad 73-68. Gordon Lee will travel to Fort Valley State to play the winner of the Towns County/Claxton game.

Blevins scored 11 of her game-high 30 points in the final quarter as Gordon Lee overcame a 52-51 deficit heading into the period. And despite a 70-62 lead with 39 seconds left, the hosts didn't clinch it until Katie Barger nailed two free throws to make it 72-68 and Tiffany Hartline stole the ball with 12 seconds left.

"We did just about everything we could to give it away at the end, but they found a way to win. It's really an excited group," Galyon said after the win.

He credited two factors for the win: a brutal region schedule in the regular season and a group of girls who have enjoyed success at the highest level in sports such as softball and volleyball.

"We didn't have to teach these girls about winning, because of the success in the other sports," Galyon said. "We have had better records in the past, but I'm not sure we would have been able to beat a team like [Seminole] if we hadn't played the level of competition we have this year. Three of the top five teams in the state are in our region."

"It's been tough and frustrating, but it's been a blessing to help us on this journey," Blevins said of the schedule. "We are definitely ready for the competition."

The Lady Trojans jumped to an 8-0 lead, but the Lady Indians led after the first break, were tied at halftime and held that one-point lead after three quarters. Gordon Lee held them without a field goal for the first four minutes of the fourth to take a 62-53 lead.

A shaky performance at the free-throw line (13 of 20) in the final period almost cost the Lady Trojans, however. Seminole scored six straight points thanks to the missed free throws and two turnovers, but Barger finally iced it with her two freebies.

Katrese Brown (24) and Patrice Barnes teamed for 57 of Seminole's points, and the duet of Alexis Watson and Shymeshea Hopkins held Gordon Lee's 6-foot-4 post star Katelyn Lee to four points. Barger added 19 points to take some pressure off Blevins, who also had 10 assists, eight rebounds and five steals.

Contact James Beach at sports@timesfreepress.com.

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