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GAC, Buford girls set for meeting No. 3

DECATUR -- A title won't be at stake this time, but the Greater Atlanta Christian and Buford girls will meet once again in the postseason in what seems to be a yearly occurrence.

The Spartans get a third shot this season at the Class AA three-time defending state champion Wolves in the semifinals of the Region 6-AA tournament tonight at Decatur.

No. 8-ranked GAC (18-7) advanced with a 54-22 rout of South Atlanta on Thursday as freshman Cosette Mahre scored 16 points and hit four of the Spartans' eight 3-pointers in 13 attempts.

Sophomores Sydni Means and Brianna Cummings scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. Means also had six steals and three assists.

"It's good to be back in the state tournament and now it's all about seeding," said coach Cal Boyd, whose young team kept GAC's streak of state tournament appearances intact with the win.

The Spartans, though, need to beat Buford to be assured of a home game in the state tournament and to get a shot at the region title on Saturday.

GAC lost its two regular-season meetings with Buford by a total of 10 points and Buford won three of the four games a season ago, including the region and state title games.

"It is what it is. We had a couple of chances during the regular season (to avoid having to play Buford in the semifinals)," Boyd said of losing twice to No. 6-ranked Decatur and finishing third rather than second in Division A.

Region 6-AA has four teams in the coaches Top 10, with Buford at No. 3 and Lovett at No. 7.

"Our region is very tough and all four teams should do well in the state tournament," Boyd said.

The No. 3-seeded Spartans weren't challenged by short-handed South Atlanta, the No. 2 seed from Division B. The Hornets (13-13) only dressed eight players and three were shaken up during the game.

GAC led 12-0 before the game was four minutes old and all the starters had already scored. It was 25-4 by midway in the second quarter and the Spartans were up 40-10 at halftime.

Mahre had 13 first-half points, hitting half of GAC's six 3-pointers. Means hit two while scoring eight points in the opening half and Cummings scored seven with a 3-pointer.

It was 47-14 going into the shortened fourth quarter and all 10 available players saw action for GAC.

Sierra Lawrence, GAC's lone active senior, had six points and three assists, while CiCi Buford led the Spartans with five rebounds and scored four points. GAC's eighth 3-pointer in the fourth quarter came from Allison Shrake.

Buford girls 63, Westminster 22

Ceely Coker had 11 points and all 12 available Buford players except for Tenneesee signee Andraya Carter scored as the Wolves rolled to a 63-22 victory over No. 4 Division B seed Westminster (9-18).

Kaela Davis and Maya Dillard had nine points for Buford (19-7). Kallie Cass scored seven and Bree Horrocks and JaQwanna Brown added six points each.

Buford and GAC will play at 7 p.m. in the semifinals. Lovett (21-4) and Decatur (22-4) meet in the first semifinal at 4 p.m.

Buford scored the first 14 points against Westminster and increased an 18-2 lead at the end of the tfirst quarter to 30-6 at halftime despite clearing the bench early. The Wolves were up 49-8 going into the shortened fourth quarter.

The Wolves are still playing without injured MacKenzie Darrah, who did dress for the game.

GAC boys 69, Lovett 51

Delano Spencer scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Greater Atlanta Christian boys (21-5) finally pulled away to defeat Lovett 69-51, advancing to the Region 6-AA semifinals and clinching a state tournament berth in the process.

No. 2-ranked GAC, defending two-time Class AA state champion, saw a 15-point lead cut to seven by the Lions (12-14) in the fourth quarter before taking control late at the foul line.

Isaiah Wilkins had 14 points, Robert Armstrong 13 and Cole Hobbs 12 as GAC placed four players in double figures. Wilkins led the Spartans with eight rebounds.

GAC, the No. 1 seed from Division A, will play host No. 3 Decatur at 8:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The Bulldogs (13-13) rallied for a 37-39 victory over Division B second-seeded Blessed Trinity 37-29.

Division B top seed South Atlanta, ranked No. 7 and 21-5, will play No. 6-ranked Buford (19-6) at 5:30 p.m.

Lovett led 12-7 late in the first quarter, but GAC was ahead by 14 points in the second quarter at 31-17. The lead was 31-21 at halftime and 47-36 going into the fourth quarter.