Photo: Karl L. Moore Providence center Aubrey Gold (15) drives inside of Hebron's Brooke Davis (21) for the layup during Saturday night's game at Hebron.
DACULA -- Hebron Christian Academy boys' basketball team has been on a roller coaster ride this season with injuries and sickness, but the Lions sure found the ride a fun one on Saturday night in a 52-40 win over Providence Christian Academy in Region 8B-A hoops action.
Hebron (8-14, 5-6) was deadlocked with Providence at 22-22 midway through the third quarter, but the Lions closed out the period with an 11-4 run to go ahead 33-26 heading to the fourth.
Hebron didn't let up in the final eight minutes as the Lions pushed the advantage out to 14 at 42-28 with 3:40 remaining and finished up the 12-point win, thanks to some aggressive defense that forced numerous Storm turnovers.
"I'm a little overcome with emotion because nobody except the 11 men in that locker room and our coaches know what we've been through this year," said Hebron head coach Will Cantrell. "Injuries, sickness and other things. But we've stuck together and I've never had a team that lays it on the line like those guys. The record doesn't reflect it, but we bring that kind of effort and tonight we just put the ball in the hole when it mattered."
Hebron never trailed in the game as the Lions led 10-6 at the end of the first quarter and 20-13 at the half.
But it looked like Providence (10-11, 8-3) would settle in and overtake Hebron as the Storm went on a 9-2 spurt to start the third quarter.
However, Hebron remained steady after the Providence run and held the Storm to just four more points in the final 4:37 of the third quarter to take the seven-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Noah Herrin led the way for Hebron with 17 points, including eight of nine from the free throw line.
Cory Johnson and Derek Vandiver each added nine points while Tyler Matthews and Ryan Thomas had eight each for the balanced Hebron attack.
Vandiver, Matthews and Thomas each hit a pair of three-pointers for the Lions.
Steven Kleinschmidt led Providence with 13 points and Duncan Gotfredson had nine, including two three-pointers, for the Storm.
In the girls' game, Providence and Hebron went toe-to-toe for three quarters before the Storm pulled out a 48-41 win.
Tied at 37-37 after three quarters, Providence (15-6, 11-1) held Hebron to just four points in the final eight minutes to gain some breathing room and eventually get the seven-point win.
In fact, neither team scored until the 3:17 mark of the fourth quarter when Providence's Jessie Kowalewicz hit a free throw to break the 37-all tie.
Providence added four more free throws to take a 42-37 lead before Hebron got a pair of free throws from Jozie Lewis with 1:27 remaining to cut the Storm lead to a one-possession game at 42-39.
But Providence hit six more free throws in the final 1:21 to take the win and set up a showdown at George Walton Academy on Tuesday in a battle for first place in the subregion.
Kowalewicz led all scorers in the game with 24 points. The senior point guard also connected on 15 of 21 from the free throw line -- 9-for-13 in the fourth quarter alone.
Allie Petmecky added 10 points for the Storm.
Hannah Lentz led Hebron (10-12, 6-6) with 17 points, including a trio of three-pointers.
Amber Skidael added 13 points for the Lions.