MACON - Not satisfied with her team's defensive effort in their Class A state semifinal win over Randolph-Clay earlier this week, Wesleyan girls coach Jan Azar decided to take matters into her own hands in Saturday's championship game.
OK, so it wasn't exactly what she had in mind when an official strayed too far out of bounds on a trip up the sidelines and collided with her.
"You know, I told Erin Hall she hasn't taken a charge all season and we've been trying to get her to, so I had to demonstrate," Azar quipped.
However, that bit of unplanned comic relief served as a symbol for just how much the Wolves had taken their coach to heart.
The result was a resounding 71-31 victory, securing Wesleyan's fifth state title in the last six years.
And there was no question which side of the ball Azar felt was the key.
"Yeah, it was much better (Saturday)," Azar said. "I think we got after it. Savannah Country Day is a great halfcourt team and they're very well-coached in the halfcourt. So, our goal was to no let them get into their halfcourt offense."
In fact, the Wolves (29-4) didn't really allow Savannah Country Day (29-4) much in the way of offense, halfcourt or otherwise, forcing the Hornets into 22 turnovers and allowing them only eight points in the first half - including just three in the second quarter.
"We always try to get (an opponent) to do everything quicker and get the ball up quicker," said senior Chantel Kennedy, who had three steals to go with her 11 points and six rebounds for the game. "We make them try to keep up with us and try to run them so that they'll get tired."
That performance followed a game in which Wesleyan allowed more than 50 points for just the eighth time in 33 games in Wednesday's 84-59 win in the semifinals.
Despite coming in a 25-point victory Azar made it clear that such a defensive performance was not acceptable.
And senior Anne Marie Armstrong said that message was received by the Wolves loud and clear.
"What she said definitely motivated us," said Armstrong, who had a steal and the bulk of her 11 rebounds for the game on the defensive end. "We had a lot of great stops in their halfcourt (game) and it led to them turning the ball over a lot."