NORCROSS — With a few players returning from last season’s seventh-grade runner-up team, Twin Rivers Middle's eighth-grade squad set a goal at the beginning of the season.
“We wanted to win this tournament,” Twin Rivers girls head coach Katy Pennington said.
In a dominating way, the Bears did just that.
Twin Rivers beat Creekland 36-14 on Monday to claim the Gwinnett County Western Division championship, staying unbeaten on the season and helping to erase the memory of last year’s one-point loss to Duluth.
“It’s been a great season,” Pennington said. “This is an all-around talented team.”
The season continues Friday when Twin Rivers faces defending county eighth grade champions McConnell at Berkmar for the county crown, but the Bears players celebrated Monday’s with gusto.
“This was a goal, achieved,” Pennington said.
Twin Rivers built a big first half lead on the shoulders of a pair of 3-pointers from Katherine Fourie and five points each from Lilian Kennedy and Alea Spears. Fourie finished the game with nine points, completing an old fashioned three-point play in the fourth quarter to cap her scoring.
The Bears scored the first nine points of the game, forcing nine first-quarter turnovers by Creekland. The Eagles got on the board in the final two minutes with a 3-pointer by Victoria Oglesby. But struggles from the free throw line (2 of 12 in the first half) hurt Creekland and a rebound and putback by Kennedy in the last minute gave the Bears an 18-5 halftime lead.
The rebound and basket was just the start for Kennedy who led all scorers with 11 points on her way to a double-double with 13 rebounds.
Kennedy scored six of Twin Rivers’ 10 third-quarter points as the Bears continued to pull away. Creekland’s leading scorer on the season, Oglesby, did all her damage in the second half from the free-throw line, finishing with eight points to lead the Eagles, despite the Bears’ defense focusing on her.
Kristen Washington hit a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to finish her seven-point night and complete the championship for the Bears.
A look at the Gwinnett County Western Division All-County Middle School girls team:
Markiema Lancaster, Hull
Lilian Kennedy, Twin Rivers
Alyssa Criscol, Dacula
Victoria Oglesby, Creekland
Bridget Mukasa, Jones
Amia Johnson, Hull
Erin Wilbur, North Gwinnett
Avery Bache Pinckneyville
Jada Rice, Creekland
Torey Walker, Duluth