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Wesleyan claims fifth straight state championship

Staff Photo: John Bohn Wesleyan's Katie Frerking (3) battles for the ball while covered by Southwest Atlanta Christian's AMy Griffin (21) and Amber Baker (22) during Wesleyan's girls Class A state basketball championship victory over  Southwest Atlanta Christian Saturday in Macon. Wesleyan defeated Southwest Atlanta Christian 68-44.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Wesleyan's Katie Frerking (3) battles for the ball while covered by Southwest Atlanta Christian's AMy Griffin (21) and Amber Baker (22) during Wesleyan's girls Class A state basketball championship victory over Southwest Atlanta Christian Saturday in Macon. Wesleyan defeated Southwest Atlanta Christian 68-44.

MACON -- It took a while for either Wesleyan or Southwest Atlanta Christian to get on the scoreboard in the Class A girls state championship game.

But once the top-ranked Wolves opened the proverbial floodgates, the Warriors just couldn't close them.

Katie Frerking scored 12 of her game-high 20 points during a 22-1 run over a six-minute stretch spanning the first and second quarters that helped Wesleyan run away and hide for a 68-44 win over No. 2 SACA Saturday at the Macon Centreplex.

Frerking also had 12 rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks, while Holli Wilkins added 19 points and eight rebounds as the Wolves (29-4) to win their fifth straight state title -- joining Taylor County and Hart County as the only girls basketball teams in GHSA history to accomplish the feat.

"I didn't realize that. That is special, too, but we try to focus on one at a time," Wesleyan coach Jan Azar said. "Then afterwards, we look back and say, 'OK, now look what we've done, and that's great.' Right now, we're going to enjoy No. 5."

There wasn't a whole lot for either team to enjoy throughout most of the first quarter, with neither team able to find the range for nearly the first half of the opening frame.

The Wolves knew something had to change.

"I think we all kind of came together and we were like, 'We're not going to lose this game. We don't want to just win, we want to go and win big," Frerking said. "We started out playing (SACA's) game instead of making them play our game. Coach Azar called timeout and she was like, 'We've done everything to prepare y'all. It's up to you at this point.'"

With the game tied 5-5 and about three minutes left in the period, the Wolves took matters into their own hands, scoring the final 10 points of the quarter, including half of Brittany Stevens' eight points on the game, to take a 15-5 lead.

"We did not like that 5-5 score," Azar said. "We are a team that goes by runs. We can't ever tell how much that's going to be. Our press invites that. I was proud of our girls because we didn't come out scoring, but we kept up the intensity on defense."

They didn't stop there.

A free throw by SACA's Amber Brown 40 seconds into the second quarter was all that interrupted what was otherwise a run of 22 straight Wesleyan points.

Frerking started it out with a 3-pointer on the left wing 24 seconds into the quarter, and the 6-foot-1 junior added a reverse layup a few minutes later to add to a driving layup by Stevens and a coast-to-coast layup by Wilkins to stretch the Wolves' lead to a whopping 27-6 with 4:42 left in the first half.

"In the beginning, Katie and Brittany were doing the majority of our scoring," Wilkins said. "After a while, we kind of solved their press and we kind of calmed down. We were able to see how they rotate the ball. Everyone started getting their shots, and it all started coming together after that."

SACA tried to make a run late in the half, with Shavontae Naylor, who led the Warriors with 15 points, had five points during a 9-4 run that cut the Wesleyan lead to 31-15 after Naylor's three-point play with 1:40 left until halftime.

But Jordan Frazier quickly answered with a layup in transition from Stevens -- one of five assist from Stevens -- while Frerking converted a steal into a layup and Stevens added a pair of free throws with 3.8 seconds left to send Weselyan into intermission with a 37-19 lead.

The Wolves put the game away for all intents and purposes by starting the third quarter with a 7-2 run, and built the lead to as much as 30 points midway through the fourth quarter.

It was a surprisingly dominating performance by the Wolves against the Warriors (29-4), who had conquered a St. Francis team that had handed Wesleyan a rare loss to an in-state Class A team earlier this month in the Region 5-A title game.

"Southwest Atlanta Christian played great defense (early on)," Azar said. "We knew that if we kept battling and battling that we would wear them down. I think we did that."

Wesleyan also got big contributions Saturday from Kaelyn Causwell, who finished with six points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots and Frazier, who had nine points, three assists and three steals.

Marquita Daniels was the only other SACA player to join Naylor in double figures with 12 points.