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GAC girls fend off feisty Lovett, set up rubber match with Wesleyan

NORCROSS — Greater Atlanta Christian held Lovett to two points in the fourth quarter and won a tight game 47-38 in the semifinals of the Region 6-AA tournament Monday.

Senior Brianna Cummings led the way with 16 points and the Spartans set up a championship clash with rival Wesleyan. Neither team cruised into the final, which is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Wesleyan’s Yancy Gymnasium.

“That’s sort of what you expect in the playoffs — a good defensive game,” Spartans head coach Cal Boyd said of the semifinal matchups. “Both teams know each other really well. It’s our third time playing them. It’s hard to beat a good team three times.

“(Lovett) got happy and made some big shots. I felt like they played really well in the first half, but I was proud of our girls in the second half for responding and getting some good defensive stops.”

The tenacious Lions led 26-25 at the break and edged a little further ahead to start the third quarter.

But GAC (21-5) answered with an 8-0 run and headed into the fourth with a 39-36 lead.

The Spartans stayed ahead for the duration, patiently stretching the margin point by point and effectively killing the clock over the last two minutes.

“Brenna Miller knocked down some nice shots,” Boyd said. “Lexi (Mann), in the second half, got more aggressive, got to the foul line and got to a few more offensive boards. Then Bri started getting more assertive and making herself available.

“I was happy with our execution at the end running our little delay game. They didn’t really know how to handle it so they ended up fouling the wrong people and Bri was making free throws at the end.”

Miller finished with 11 points. Mann, a 6-foot freshman, and Sydni Means each added eight points.

“It’s been a fun journey for our girls,” Boyd said. “They’re just really enjoying themselves. We know a season has a finite time to it. We tell the girls to appreciate that time, being a part of something bigger than yourself. They have really bought into that.”

There’s little time to savor this win though.

Boyd said the team would be turning its attention to Wesleyan immediately. They split the regular season meetings, setting up Tuesday’s rubber match.

“There’s a lot of respect for Jan (Azar) and her program and what they do,” Boyd said. “But I’m really proud of our team and what we’ve done this year. Our senior leadership has really been the key to it.”