CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — When Lester Galyon allows himself to look at the video of Monday night's 64-56 Georgia Class A girls' first-round playoff loss to Towns County, the Gordon Lee coach will see that his team did almost everything right.s
"We just couldn't score," he said with a slight shake of his head. "We had adjusted our offense because they play a 1-3-1 zone, which we don't see very often, and I thought we did a nice job against it and consistently got good shots. For whatever reason, they just didn't go in."
His Lady Trojans, the defending Class A public school champions, held a 37-27 rebounding edge and for the most part had success breaking the Lady Indians' press, but they hit only one 3-point basket and missed several shots from under five feet.
Towns County, meanwhile, found its stroke in the second period. Eryn Cochran, Karlie Albach and McKenzie Moss hit consecutive 3-pointers midway through the quarter to highlight an 18-5 run that the Lady Trojans never could overcome. Towns led 36-26 at halftime and was still ahead by nine, 46-37, at the end of three quarters.
Even worse, Gordon Lee star center Katelyn Lee, saddled with three fouls in the first 10 minutes of play, picked up her fourth with no time showing on the clock ending that third period.
"We don't need Katelyn Lee sitting beside me for more than half the game," Galyon said. "We also helped them out with some over-aggressive fouls. I thought we had an advantage in depth, and it showed up some, but when we stop every few moments to shoot free throws they get to rest."
The Lady Trojans (19-8) made a strong run in the final period, but Towns point guard Cochran had the answer with strong ball-handling and 8-of-11 free-throw shooting down the stretch. The Lady Indians (19-10) had only one field goal in the period but were in the double-bonus early.
"Eryn did a nice job," Towns coach Jim Melton said of Cochran, who is headed to Columbus State on a scholarship. "We've played Gordon Lee for the past few years in our Christmas tournament, and Eryn did not play this year. We knew what to expect from them, and she made a big difference."
Gordon Lee closed to within three on Sarah Meadows' layup with 1:50 to play, and the freshman got the ball right back with a quick steal. However, the Lady Trojans turned it right back over and Cochran sealed the game with three more free throws.
"They did a nice job of getting the ball to their point guard, and it seemed every time they needed a big bucket it ended up in her hands and she either got points or set other people up," Galyon said.
"The girls are heartbroken because they all believed we were going to win. I hate giving the speech I just gave, and it reminded me how great it was last year as a coach to experience not having to make that speech. The girls played hard tonight and that's all I can ask."
Cochran scored 20 points for the winners, who will play Wednesday at top-ranked Randolph-Clay, while Meadows led Gordon Lee with 17.
• Redan 67, Northwest Whitfield 35: At Redan, the Lady Bruins lost in the Class AAAA second round as Brea Elmore scored 18 points for the 30-0 hosts. Mallory Souther led Northwest (24-5) with 10.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
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 ...