The Douglass girls’ basketball team did it … again!
The Astros won their second consecutive Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Class AA state championship on Thursday afternoon, defeating Southwest Macon, 56-46, in what was essentially a home game for Southwest as the state championship games are played at The Centreplex in Macon.
Douglass trailed 13-12 after the first quarter, but fought back to take a 27-21 lead at halftime. The Astros eventually built a 41-28 lead late in the third quarter. Southwest Macon made a run and cut the lead to 46-44 with just under four minutes remaining in the game, but the Astros outscored the Patriots 10-2 the rest of the way to seal the win.
Douglass was led by senior guard Kayla Sesberry, who scored 25 points to lead all scorers. She ended Southwest’s comeback attempt in the fourth quarter by scoring four consecutive points to push the Astros’ lead to 50-44 with a little over two minutes left in the game. Fellow senior Ikenya King scored 13 points and was dominant underneath the basket with 16 rebounds. Also, Destiny McKee scored 10 points, Zhaniya Moreland and Michelle Payne scored four points, and Yolanie Johnson and Ashley McKee each scored two.
The repeat championships by the Astros, who finished the season with a record of 26-5, is the first ever for the school and the first for Atlanta Public Schools since the Maynard Jackson girls track team won the Class AAA championship in 2015 and 2016.
Therrell boys come up just short
The Therrell boys’ basketball team’s bid to join the Douglass girls team as back-to-back state champs fell just short, as the Panthers were defeated, 69-65, by Swainsboro, in the Class AA boys’ finals, following the girls’ game Thursday in Macon.
The Panthers trailed 35-23 midway through the second quarter, but battled back to trim the deficit to 35-29 at halftime. Going into the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 50 and Therrell eventually took a 59-56 lead, but the Tigers closed on a 13-4 run to win the championship.
Therrell, which finished with a record of 26-7, was led by senior Resean Frederick, who scored 23 points to lead all scorers in the game. Fellow seniors Calvin Miller scored 16, Cameron Fortson scored nine, Roman Son scored eight, and Justin Worrill scored five, while sophomore Caleb Smith scored four points.
As an added honor for the school, the Panther dance team, which finished second in the region and qualified to compete in the state dance competition, was selected by the GHSA to perform at halftime of the game.