Ware County's Lady Gators scored the final six points in the closing minute of the game to escape the upset bid of Pierce County here Wednesday night. The Lady Gators (19-2 overall, 4-1 Region 2-AAAAA), 2-2 over its last four outings, will get back into region action Friday night when New Hampstead visits. Wednesday's victory over the Lady Bears (15-6, 4-2 Region 2- AA), ranked No. 22 by MaxPreps, completed the season sweep. Ware County, ranked 12th in the latest MaxPreps poll, rolled to a 53-26 win in the first meeting in Bearville back on January 10. PCHS, which has dropped two of its last three games, will also return to region action Friday night traveling to Ludowici to face Long County. Ware County built a seemingly comfortable 12-point lead at 40- 28 midway through the final stanza thanks to an 8-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters. The Lady Bears battled back to get to within 40-36 with a minute to play.
The Lady Gators hit a couple of free throws for some breathing room and scored a couple of baskets off turnovers in the final 20 seconds to push the margin to double digits. Ware County claimed a fourpoint advantage after the first eight minutes at 11-7. The Lady Gators doubled their margin by intermission using a 14-10 second quarter scoring advantage for a 25-17 lead. The Lady Bears outscored Ware County 11-7 to pull to within 32- 28 until a late basket by the Lady Gators extended the lead to 34-28 heading into the final period.
The Lady Gators finished the game shooting 46 percent from the floor while limiting PCHS to 28%. Ware County hurt itself at the free throw line converting on just 7-of-24 attempts (29%). Pierce County, which was badly beaten on the boards in the first meeting, matched the Lady Gators with 32 each. PCHS scored 13 second-chance points off 12 offensive rebounds to Ware's nine points off 14 offensive rebounds. The Lady Gators had the advantage in points off turnovers scoring 21 points off 21 Pierce turnovers while the Lady Bears scored 13 points off 18 Ware turnovers. Ware County had a trio of players reach double figures with China Bacon (three rebounds, team-high three assists, two steals) leading the way with a game-high 15 points. Waynisha Coleman (two rebounds, one assist) followed with 12 points. Shondell Vickers (two assists, one block) finished with a double-double scoring 10 points and grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds. Mataea Boyd (team-high five assists, five rebounds, two assists) chipped in with seven points. Arviniece McDonald (two steals, one assist, one rebound) netted two points. Kennedy Sanders recorded four steals, four rebounds and handed out two assists.
The Lady Bears were paced by Mary Courtney Puryear's (four rebounds, team-high tying three steals, one assist) 12 points. Gabby Garner (three rebounds, two steals, one assist, one block) contributed eight points with Ilasha Wilkins (team-high eight rebounds) finishing with six points. Keara Clark (seven rebounds, team-high tying three steals, teamhigh tying two assists) and Kylee Royer (five rebounds, one steal, one block) netted four points each. Madison Puryear (three rebounds, team-high tying two assists) bagged two points.
*Thanks to the WJH for the write up.
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