After falling into a double-digit hole in the first quarter against Buford, St. Pius battled back for a slight edge at halftime and held on for the right to be called back-to-back champions with a 48-45 victory Saturday in the Class AAA final at the Macon Centreplex.
Asia Durr scored 23 points and senior Jasmine Carter added 12 for the Golden Lady Lions, who did just enough down the stretch to leave Macon victorious.
With 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Carter had a chance to extend St. Pius’ lead to six but she missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and 12 seconds later, Bree Horrocks (13 points) nailed a jumper for a 47-45 score.
Then with 9.5 seconds, Carter returned to the foul line but only made the first shot, giving Buford (30-3) a shot to at least force overtime. However surprisingly, the ball was passed inside to Horrocks, who missed a layup that would have only reduced the margin to one with just a couple of seconds left.
Miah Allen (nine points) corralled the rebound and was fouled with .02 seconds to go, essentially finalizing the contest.
The opening quarter was a nightmare for St. Pius, which struggled to shoot against Buford’s 1-3-1 zone. After Camille Anderson (14 points) hit a pair of free throws, the Golden Lady Lions trailed 12-0 with 2:43 left in the frame. Nearly 20 seconds later, Durr finally got St. Pius on the scoreboard with a free throw.
Then with 21 seconds to go in the quarter, the Golden Lady Lions scored their first field goal, a layup by Obi Okafor.
“We just felt like if we realized there is no 12-point possession and just to try to get within five or six points by halftime then we could make a run in the second half,” St. Pius coach Kyle Snipes said.
But Durr had 11 points, including three 3-pointers, in the second to lead St. Pius to a 23-21 edge at the break.