On a senior-laden team, a sophomore stepped to the fore for Tucker, to help propel the Lady Tigers to the first state title game appearance in school history.
Mariya Trimble scored 12 points, including 6 in a row during a critical juncture in the fourth quarter, to help lead Tucker (28-4) to a 54-38 win over Drew (26-4) in one AAAAA girls semifinal, Saturday night at Fort Valley State University.
Tucker head coach Robin Potter said Trimble had gone into a bit of a shell during the state playoffs, after a stellar regular season.
“I talked to her and I told her you’re too good to be so hesitant out there,” Potter said. “I told her you just need to go out there and play with confidence, anda she really did that tonight.”
Drew (26-4) started fast, racing to a 6-0 lead early in the contest, behind 4 points from senior center Lakiah Sims, who led all scorers with 14 points. But Tucker (28-4) closed the gap to 8-7 by the end of the first quarter and took the lead for good, 16-13 midway through the second period after a three-point basket by senior guard Tori Robinson.
Tucker eventually built a 14-point lead, 41-27, late in the third quarter, after a bucket by Trimble. But Drew cut the lead to 41-35 early in the fourth quarter, and with senior forward Erykah Davenport – who has signed with Miami – on the bench with four fouls, the Titans looked to cut deeper into the lead.
But Trimble went on a personal 6-0 run, punctuated by an offensive rebound and put back with a little over three minutes left in regulation, to put the game away. Davenport matched Trimble with 12 points on the night, while fellow senior Nuba Jackson and Robinson added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Tucker will face defending champion Southwest DeKalb in an all-DeKalb County final, Friday night in Macon. Prior to this season, Tucker’s deepest state playoff run was the 1977 AAA semi finals.
“We have tradition at Tucker,” Potter said. “We’ve always been competitive. We just need to get over that hump.”