By the time Douglas County girls basketball coach Chet Forsh called his first timeout Tuesday night, he had seen his team turn the ball over on three of its first four possessions and watched Harrison’s Audrey Jordan score the first seven points of the contest.
The game was a little more than two minutes old, and it was already firmly in Harrison’s grasp.
Jordan went on to finish with 21 points, Raicheal Tringali scored a team-high 22 and Sydne Wiggins added 14 to lead fourth-ranked Harrison (25-5) to a 73-63 victory over No. 2 Douglas County (26-4) in the Class AAAAAA quarterfinals in Douglasville. Harrison moves on to the semifinals for the first time and will face top-ranked Northview at 2 p.m. Saturday at Fort Valley State.
“That’s the second game [in the playoffs] that she’s gotten us off to a really good start,” Harrison coach Steve Lenahan said. “When we get off to a good start, everybody plays confident. So that was huge.”
Douglas County responded to Harrison’s game-opening run with five consecutive points of its own to cut the lead to two, but the Hoyas pulled back out to a 17-11 lead by the end of the quarter. Jordan scored 10 points before heading to the bench with her second foul with 31 seconds to play in the quarter.
Tringali took over in the second quarter. She opened the period with a 3-pointer for a 20-14 lead, then made back-to-back 3s to make it 26-14 with 5:23 to play in the half. Jordan came back in and scored nine second-quarter points, and Wiggins added two 3-pointers and eight points total as Harrison built the lead to 45-29 by halftime. Douglas County never got within nine points the rest of the way.
Tringali added three more 3-pointers in the third quarter to finish with six.
“It really started on the defensive end, holding them to 11 points in the first quarter and I think 29 by the half,” Lenahan said. “They’re used to scoring 70 or 80. So our defense was our main focus”
A 3-pointer by Tringali with four minutes to play in the third quarter pushed the lead over 20 points for the first time, at 55-34. The Hoyas still led by 15 with about four minutes remaining, but they were just 6-for-11 from the free-throw line in the final 1:18, allowing Douglas County to creep back within the final 10-point margin.
Arsula Clark did her best to keep Douglas County in the game, scoring 17 points in the first half and finishing with a game-high 28. Sayah Brooks added 21, most of which came in the second half. No other Tiger scored more than five points.
“This is a very difficult environment to play in,” Lenahan said. “We knew that coming in. They’ve got a great crowd and small gym where you’re close to the court. Our girls did a good job of blocking it out and just playing.”