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Wesleyan's Hall sets career high with 28

ROSWELL -- Erin Hall's shot is usually picture perfect.

"We joke that we'd rather see Erin miss a shot than others make one, because her shot is so pretty," Wesleyan girls basketball coach Jan Azar said.

But the Wake Forest signee had been in a bit of funk lately, her nearly flawless shots no longer automatically going in and instead often bouncing off the rim.

Hall needed to regain her touch. Against Osborne on Monday in the MLK Tribute to a King Hardwood Classic, she did just that.

In fact, the 5-foot-9 senior guard had never been better.

Hall scored a career-high 28 points as defending Class A state champion Wesleyan defeated Class AAAA's No. 4 team 72-59 at Centennial.

"I think she's good to go," Azar said.

That's definitely an understatement.

Hall hit three consecutive 3-pointers in a personal 15-point third quarter and finished 12 of 20 from the floor. She appeared headed for 30 points before scoring just two in the final quarter as Wesleyan worked the clock with the lead.

Wesleyan, ranked No. 1 in Class A, dominated the boards and unnerved Osborne (12-3) with its pressure defense as well. But the story was Hall's offensive outburst as the Wolves improved to 14-3 despite struggling at the foul line.

"It's definitely my high game," said Hall, who had 24 points against Cherokee in the second game this season and came in averaging 15 points per game.

"I think I just got squared up and got my feet set. That's what they told me to do at halftime and I made the adjustment."

Hall already had 11 points and a 3-pointer by intermission, but the best was yet to come. When Osborne cut what had once been a 17-point lead to six points midway in the third quarter, Hall went to work.

Wesleyan had a 14-5 run to regain control and Hall had 13 of those points. After two baskets from inside the arc, she hit a trio of 3-pointers. One banked in, but Hall was so hot that she probably called it.

"I started hitting everything," said Wesleyan's second all-time leader in 3-pointers and a four-year varsity performer.

How did Hall develop a jump shot that even NBA legend Jerry West would admire?

"My dad wanted me to shoot like a guy," Hall said. "Girls usually start off shooting set shots, but he wanted me to be able to shoot over people. So I developed a one-hand shot and then a just kept working and working, trying to make it perfect."

She did.

The victory was Wesleyan's third over a ranked team from a higher classification. The Wolves also have defeated No. 4 North Cobb and No. 5 Stephenson from Class AAAAA. Their only loss to a Georgia team came against McEachern, No. 9 in AAAAA.

Osborne had lost only to Rome, No. 2 in AAAA, and Alabama power Hoover. But the Cardinals' only lead against Wesleyan was 4-2 shortly after tipoff.

Wesleyan was up 20-9 at the end of the first quarter and 36-22 at halftime. It was 58-43 going into the final quarter, with the only thing keeping the game relatively close the Wolves' struggles at the foul line. Wesleyan made just 15 of 35 free throws, while Osborne was 24-for-36.

Grace Leah Baughn had a strong all-around game for Wesleyan, recording 10 rebounds to go with seven points and three assists. Holli Wilkins had 10 points and six rebounds, whle Logan Morris had eight rebounds and six points. Kaelyn Causwell finished with eight points and freshman Brittany Stevens had four assists and six points as nine Wesleyan players scored.

It was the third game in four days for Wesleyan, which defeated South Carolina power J.L. Mann on Saturday in the Battle of the Southeast. The top remaining regular season game for Wesleyan is a home meeting with defending Class AA champ Buford on Jan. 30.