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Late surge carries Spartans

NORCROSS -- When the Greater Atlanta Christian girls fell behind Lovett by 15 points in the third quarter, it looked like the Spartans' upcoming rematch with No. 1-ranked and defending Class AA state champion Buford on Friday would be losing its luster.

Then GAC coach Cal Boyd switched to a half-court zone trap, waking the Spartans up defensively and offensively.

"This team really showed me something," Boyd said. "To come back when we were struggling like that is a sign of how far we've come. This team is growing up."

GAC held visiting Lovett to two points from midway in the third quarter on and finished the game on an 18-0 run for a 46-36 Region 6-AA victory Tuesday night at the Long Forum.

Down 32-17 after No. 8 Lovett scored the first nine points of the third quarter, the No. 6 Spartans closed the period on an 11-2 run to get within 34-28.

The Lions got the first basket of the final quarter, but after that it was all GAC.

The Spartans (15-4 overall and 9-1 in Region 6-AA) held Lovett (14-8, 7-4) without a point the rest of the way. The trap completely disrupted the Lions' offense and GAC finally got its attack going.

Sierra Lawrence completed a three-point play to put the Spartans ahead for the first time since the opening quarter at 38-36 and then Clarke Boards hit a 3-pointer. GAC, so cold previously, was suddenly off and running.

Boards grabbed seven of her team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter and also finished the game with three steals and three assists. Lawrence had six steals to go with her nine points.

Chaney Means, who was 1-for-11 shooting, had just four points, but contributed 11 rebounds, five steals and four assists. Kristina Nelson had seven points and six rebounds.

GAC, which won 50-48 at Lovett on Jan. 14, scored the first six points of the game and led 13-4 late in the first quarter. But the Spartans then went ice cold, shooting barely 20 percent in the first half, and Lovett took advantage.

The Lions went on a 17-2 run and led 23-17 at halftime. Sydney Umeri had eight of her 11 points in the second quarter and Tatiana Jackson scored seven of her game-high 15 points.

GAC's only loss since falling to Buford 50-43 on Jan. 12 was by a point to unbeaten Parkview, ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAA. On Friday at Buford, the Spartans will get another crack at the Wolves and a win would move them into a tie for first place.

"At this time of year, every game is a big one," Boyd said. "We certainly weren't overlooking Lovett. That's a good team. Give them credit.

"Now we'll think about Buford. We know how good they are. That's obvious. But we're pretty good, too."

GAC boys 90, Lovett 34

The No. 1-ranked GAC boys improved to 20-1 overall and 10-0 in Region 6-AA with a 90-34 rout of overmatched Lovett (5-14, 2-9). The Spartans led 26-6 after the first quarter and 51-16 at halftime and 77-26 going into the final quarter.

College of Charleston signee Trent Wiedeman had 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Spartans. Paul Dawson led GAC's four double-figure scorers with 17 points. Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 and freshman A.J. Davis contributed 10 points.