Late free throws lift Kendrick past GAC 61-59

COLUMBUS -- Kahlia Lawrence scored 30 points, including a pair of free throws in the final minute, as Kendrick stayed undefeated on the season by holding off Greater Atlanta Christian 61-59 in a second-round game of the Class AA girls state basketball tournament on Friday at Kendrick.

The Spartans (21-8) took a lead late after a three-point play by Cii Cii Buford with about a minute and a half remaining.

But Lawrence's free throws put the Cherokees (29-0) back in front, and a later free throw made it a two-point game.

GAC had two chances to win in the final seconds, but a 3-pointer from the corner by Cosette Mahre hit off the back iron, and Sydni Means' shot from just inside halfcourt at the buzzer was off the mark to send Kendrick into the state quarterfinals to take on Lovett.

"We fought hard," GAC coach Cal Boyd said. "The girls battled. It was an incredible game. We're disappointed, but we played very well. And that (Kendrick) team is very scrappy."

Briana Cummings nearly matched Lawrence's total by leading GAC with 26 points, while the Spartans also got 12 points from Mahre and 11 from Buford, including nine in the fourth quarter.