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TUCKER (GA) – Getting the upper hand on the home team in the early stages of a game is always encouraging but doesn’t come with any guarantees. But this situation worked out for the Harrison Lady Hoyas and they are still alive in the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
Instrumental in Harrison’s fast start, junior Audrey Jordan had 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals to help the Lady Hoyas hold off Tucker for a 43-35 win February 22 in the second round of the GHSA 6-A tournament.
“We knew Tucker was going to be tough,” Harrison coach Steve Lenahan. “They are super athletic. They have been winning all season long. We were hoping we could keep it tight and they wouldn’t shoot well. We got off to a good shooting start and they didn’t. I think all in all that was enough to give us momentum to win the game.”
After leading by as many as 14 points in the first half and surviving a rally by the Lady Tigers in the third quarter, Harrison (24-5) made Tucker look hesitant and confused offensively while the clock ticked away in the final frame.
As a result, the Lady Hoyas, who entered the last quarter ahead 35-28, held Tucker to seven points while registering just eight themselves but plenty to secure a clash with either Douglas County or Houston County in the Elite Eight.
“I think we are the second or third team in our school’s history to make it to the Elite Eight so it is really a big deal to us,” Jordan said.
During the opening minutes, Harrison tried to put the game out of reach. Jordan scored 10 points (two layins, a three-point play and 3-pointer) to help produce a 15-3 lead.
“She is a trooper and a future college player,” Lenahan said. “She is being looked at by a couple of schools. She is strong and has a college-ready body. She can play outside, inside and handle the ball. She figured out she was able to get around that girl guarding her early on and so she just kept taking the ball to the basket.”
The Lady Tigers (22-7) had a better offensive output in the second quarter but the Lady Hoyas still owned a 22-14 advantage at the break.
Not long after halftime, Tucker gave its fans something to get loud about by turning a 10-point deficit to just a point. Jermese Davis (10 points, 11 boards) sparked the shift in momentum with a 3-pointer then fellow seniors Morgan Collins and Eastern Kentucky signee Bria Bass (13 points, nine rebounds) added to it with 3’s of their own for a 26-25 score.
“They had the shooting in the third quarter that we had in the first half,” Lenahan said. “We knew it was going to come. The girls knew it was coming and were ready for it”
But senior Sydne Wiggins, a Rice signee, answered with a 3-pointer on a pass from Jordan to rebuild the margin. Moments later, Wiggins (11 points) was fouled shooting a 3 from the corner and sank all three foul shots to create a little distance again before Jordan found senior Raicheal Tringali (10 points) for a 3-pointer to cap the scoring in the quarter.
“Sydne is pretty accurate from the 3-point line–about 50 percent,” Lenahan said of his guard who is unable to practice due to foot ailments.