Class A Private Girls Championship
St. Francis 62, Southwest Atlanta Christian 56, OT
When St. Francis shocked Southwest Atlanta Christian back on Feb. 16 in the Region 6-A tournament championship game, the Knights went 21-for-22 from the foul line and attacked a bigger Warrior team. In the Class A finals rematch, it took St. Francis one half of basketball before the Knights could show the same unrelenting onslaught. The Knights went just 1-for-2 from the foul line in the first half before getting to the line 30 times in the second half and overtime. Candice Williams was the driving force for the Knights, and, after scorching the Warriors last month with 18 points, including a perfect 11-for-11 from the line, she would do it again. Williams was a perfect 8-for-8 from the line and finished with 14 points and four assists.
Antoinette Brown had her hands full today going against the Warriors’ talented and towering post players, but would win the battle. The senior was the heart of the Knights’ scoring and finished with a team-high 22 points and nine rebounds. The lefty also went 8-for-10 from the foul line, making the Warriors pay in the paint.
Southwest Atlanta Christian opened the game on an 8-0 run and held leads through the game with help from Alexis Carter, who finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
The Knights trailed 31-24 at the half but opened up the third quarter with Williams stealing the inbounds pass and eventually finding Nigia Greene for the layup. Greene finished with 14 points and shot 5-for-13 from the foul line. Despite the misses, Greene played a key role in getting the Warriors into foul trouble by continuing to attack. Abby Grant finally got the lead in the Knights’ favor with a deep three-pointer. Carter would answer with a pair of baskets, but Brown hit on a highly-contested layup to give the Knights a 41-40 entering the final quarter.
The important moment for the Knights in their win may have come when Warriors guard Marquita Daniels fouled out with 16 points. The Warriors were ahead 52-48 and freshman Keimeshia Walker came in and travelled to give the Knights the ball down by four. Williams drove straight to the lane and Daniels fouled out with 16 seconds left. The lead was 52-50 and a St. Francis foul put Amber Brown on the line to shoot the one-and-one. Jade Davis got the rebound on the Brown miss and drove the length of the floor, hitting a hanging layup plus the foul with just seven seconds remaining. Davis missed the free throw, but the game would head to overtime tied at 52-52.
In overtime, the Warriors struck first with an Alexis Carter layup. Carter had been playing with four fouls for almost the entire fourth quarter and had trouble having an equal impact defensively. St. Francis continued driving and Williams would ice the game with six points and perfect free-throw shooting in the extra time. The Lady Knights won the program’s first-ever state title.