“I am just so happy for these kids,” said LSHS coach David Mills. “They came out swinging.”
Lithia opened with a 5-0 lead and quickly built that to 10-2. With three minutes to go in the opening quarter, Tashara Jones connected on a 3-pointer, giving the Lady Lions an 11 point advantage. She added on to that lead seconds later with two shots from the line.
Selena Crummie connected with a layup and short jumper on back-to-back possessions, putting Lithia up 19-2. South Paulding’s Natasha Banks hit a 3-pointer as the first quarter wound down. The period ended with the Lady Lions up by 14.
Lithia did not slow down in the second quarter and by the midway point they held a 30-7 lead.
Defense reigned over the next two minutes as both teams struggled to score. The Lady Lions put up shot after shot and kept getting the rebound but could not put the ball in the basket. The streak was broken with 1:04 left in the half when Tobreshia Horn scored on a break-away layup. Crummie added a shot form the line and Lithia led 33-7 with 40 seconds to go.
With 10 seconds left in the second quarter, Banks added South Paulding’s eighth and ninth points of the game. Lithia’s Joi Few attempted a shot at the buzzer but it was no good and both teams went to the locker room with the Lady Lions in complete control, 33-9.
Jones, Horn, and Crummie accounted for all but two of Lithia’s points in the first half. Jones scored a game high 14, including three 3’s. Horn had two 3’s and 10 points total.
“We shot a ton of 3’s every day in practice,” Mills said. “We dedicate the first 30 minutes of each day to it.”
Crummie added six points for the Lady Lions. Banks led the Lady Spartans with seven points.
Lithia looked to continue the pace as the third quarter got under way. Aided by fouls from the South Paulding defense, the Lady Lions quickly added four points in 30 seconds to go up 37-9. The Lady Lions reached the 40 point plateau 30 seconds later on a Dannyl Richardson 3-pointer.
South Paulding finally reached double digits on a free throw from Tionna Fant with 4:47 left to play in the third. The Lady Lions led 42-10.
Despite low team scoring, Banks continued to add numbers personally for the Lady Spartans. A 3-pointer at the midway point of the third gave her 10 of the team’s 13 total points. She added a free throw with 2:29 on the clock and South Paulding trailed 45-14.
A steal and a layup by Lithia’s Brionne Baylor ended the third quarter at a 49-14 advantage for the Lady Lions. Because of the 30-plus point lead, the final quarter was played under the mercy rules. The Lithia bench was emptied to run out the clock.
With the starters playing limited action in the second half, Jones finished with a game leading 18 points. Horn followed with 15 and Crummie added 10. Banks led South Paulding with 14.
With the win, Lithia will move on to the semifinals of the 5-AAAAA Region Tournament, which will play played at Allatoona on Friday. The Lady Lions will play at 4 p.m. The Lady Lions will be playing for home court advantage in the first round of State.