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FAYETTEVILLE — The Griffin Lady Bears have played 17 games this season and won 17 games this season.
Cincinnati commit Andeija Puckett had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and sophomore Daisya Reid added 14 points to help Griffin overcome a cold start and remain unbeaten with a 59-40 road win over Fayette County on January 17.
“We are just trying to take it one game at a time,” Griffin coach Veronica Lee said. “Being undefeated can be very stressful believe it or not. This is my sixth year here and is one of the better starts for me. Last year, we went 10-0 before we lost a game.”
In the first meeting at Griffin High on December 2, the only two Lady Bears to score in double figures were Puckett and fellow senior Trakeirra Head but Griffin still edged the Lady Tigers 49-47. The Lady Bears also struggled from the foul line, netting just 7-of-29 attempts (24 percent).
“This time around we made our free throws down the stretch and we continued to make baskets,” said Lee of the first meeting with Fayette. “At our place, coach [John] Strickland did some exciting things, trapped us and fouled us. We went to the free-throw line and missed.”
The day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Lady Bears had two more players — TyLeslie Johnson (11 points) and Zacoria Berry (10) — reach double digits in the scoring column and they shot 12-of-21 (57 percent) from the stripe.
Following a first quarter full of missed layups by both teams, Griffin got things going in the second and looked more like a team with a ‘0’ in the loss column. First, Puckett converted a layup while being fouled to break a 10-10 tie and Johnson nailed a 3-pointer to highlight a 16-6 run to close the half.
Then with a 30-23 advantage in the third quarter, the Lady Bears stretched the margin out even more during the final four minutes of the frame. To start the 11-0 run, Reid, who scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half, made a layin and then found Puckett for a layup.
“Ty is our motor and our glue,” Lee said. “She keeps us going. High energy. Hustling. She is all over the place. She’s a sleeper. Whatever school she decides to go to they are going to get a steal. And Daisya brings energy off the bench. She can score the basketball and play defense. She is a very important piece to our program.”
After splitting a pair of free throws, Johnson turned a steal into a fast-break layin. Then Head (eight points) nailed a jumper and Reid capped the surge with a jumpshot of her own for a 41-23 score.
“We put our 2-2-1 press on them and got some turnovers and easy baskets,” Lee said. “I think that was a critical point of the game.”
In the final quarter, senior Darryl Langford (15 points) found her stroke and gave the Lady Tigers a glimpse of hope by scoring 10 points, including a 3-pointer which cut the margin to 46-37 with 2:46 remaining.
But Reid stopped that run with a three-point play and Griffin rebuilt its lead to eventually seal a regular-season sweep against Fayette County, which fell to 11-6 overall and 5-2 in region play.