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GMC girls headed to state

GMC girls headed to state Keith Jump The Union-Recorder On Tuesday night the Georgia Military Prep Lady Bulldogs took a step toward their goal of winning a possible region and state championship by defeating Lincoln County 42-30. “This win was not just won tonight, but was started way back in June. These girls have worked hard for this,” were the words of coach John Griffin after the game. “Some of these girls played more than 70 games that month in camp. That is where the team concept formed for them.” The night started off for the Lady Dogs with a steal after the visitors won the opening tip-off. After both teams missed their first few shots, senior Erin McDade was fouled, and calmly stepped to the line and sank both free- throws for a 2-0 lead. On an out-of-bounds call senior Page Jackson found Jalessa Barksdale free under the basket for an easy layup for a 4-0 lead. The visitors cut it 4-2 before Jackson was fouled and made one of her two free- throws to make it 5-2. The visiting girls then hit a shot to cut into GMC’s lead, 5-4, before Barksdale hit another shot for a 7-4 lead. That’s when 3-point sharp shooter Lauryn Dennard hit her first shot to give her team a 10-4 lead. Lincoln then hit a shot under the basket and took the ball from the Lady Dogs on the inbound pass. But a steal by Elizabeth Craig led to another Dennard long-range shot, but with her toe on the line it counted for just 2 points. Beginning the second period the Lady Dogs seemed to have hit a wall, which led to an 11-point run by the visitors, and a 17-12 disadvantage. Now playing with three starters in foul trouble; Craig with 3, Barksdale with 2, and McDade with 2, Karymn Fuller had to play an unfamiliar role on the court. Fuller demonstrated her athletic ability and adaptability and helped her team down the stretch. She was fouled and made one shot to stop the Lincoln run at 2:46 of the second stanza. With the score now 17-13 in favor of the visitors, McDade blocked a shot, which led to another Dennard 3-pointer, cutting the lead to 17-16. Lincoln County then made the last shot before the half to put GMC in a not-so-familiar situation, down 19-16 at halftime. “We went in at the half and coach told us to remember who we were and also what we had done to get to this point,” said Jackson after the game. And whatever Coach Griffin and assistant Todd Dennard said put a spark of life back into the Lady Bulldogs. After McDade made the first shot of the third period to make it 19-18 in favor of the Lincoln County, the visitors then scored five straight points to build the lead back to 24-18. Griffin then called a strategic timeout to try and stop any momentum Lincoln was trying to build. After the visitors missed the next shot, they grabbed their own rebound, but had it stolen by Dennard, who made a beautiful outlet pass to Jackson for an easy layup. After another visitor’s basket, Jackson hit McDade on an inbound pass. With GMC now down 26-22, Jackson hit a 3-pointer of her own to cut the lead to 26-25. With both teams matching shots, the third period ended with Lincoln on top 28-27. The fourth and final period was all GMC, who once again put their “do work” attitude into high gear. As in the first and third periods, McDade hit the first shot again, this time giving her team the lead for good at 29-28. After back-to-back baskets by Jackson and Craig, GMC had built the lead to 33-28 before Lincoln County made one of their only baskets of the fourth period. On the next possession Jackson would steal the ball and go the entire length of the floor for a 35-29 lead. After Jackson hit another shot the visitors started fouling. Jackson had 13 points, five assists and two steals while Dennard finished with 12 points, four assists, three steals and four rebounds. McDade scored 10 points on the night to go with six rebounds and four blocks. “Fuller tonight had to play an unfamiliar position and she did a fantastic job. That’s what this team does — they do what we ask them to — and they help each other no matter what,” said Griffin. The GMC Lady Bulldogs will now play Warren County at 4 p.m. on Friday in Sparta.