HOWELL’S COVE — Georgiana overcame a seven-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to defeat the TC Central girls 64-62 in the Class 1A Southeast Regional girls Thursday night.
Georgina will take on Samson in the regional finals Wednesday at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery. Samson defeated Winterboro 57-35 on Wednesday in the regional semifinal.
“My heart goes out to everyone, especially my seniors,” TC Central head coach Ebonie Ferguson said. “It just didn’t roll our way tonight. I thought we fought hard, and we left it out on the court. I couldn’t ask them to play any harder or leave anything else on the floor.”
The Fighting Tigers led 57-50 with 3:23 left in the game, but Georgiana was able to fight its way back into the game thanks to its defense.
The Panthers forced four turnovers during an 8-0 run to take a 58-57 lead.
TC Central’s Amiya Sillmon would give the Fighting Tigers the lead back on a layup to make 59-58 with 1:58 left in the contest.
The Fighting Tigers took a 60-58 lead on a Sillmon free throw with 53 seconds left in the game.
Georgiana standout Tanasia Gordon would penetrate through TC’s defense for a layup to tie the game at 60-all with 43 seconds left.
Sillmon had a chance to give the Fighting Tigers the lead back but missed a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left in the game. Zykeria McClain drove the ball down the court for a layup to put Georgiana on top 62-60.
The Fighting Tigers had a chance to tie the game, but the Panthers forced another turnover.
TC Central would foul Angel Haynes with 5.7 seconds left in the game. Haynes would make both attempts to put the Panthers up 64-60.
“When I called that time out, I just told them to calm down,” Georgiana coach Tiana Perkins said, taking the place of the team’s regular coach who missed Thursday night due to COVID-19 exposure. “This is my first game (as a coach), and I just told them to play defense like they know how to, and you will get the win. They fought hard and came back to get the win.”
Johnson would miss a 3-point attempt and get her own rebound for a layup as the buzzer sounded to make it 64-62.
“I think we were playing like we were down and having to get quick points when in actuality, we were up,” Ferguson said. “We had a couple of critical turnovers at the end. I honestly say that didn’t beat us. We had mishaps all game. Those turnovers at the end hurt because they were at a crucial time, but that is not what cost us the game.”
Johnson led TC Central with 34 points. Johnson, however, was shut out in the last four minutes of the game until she scored at the buzzer.
“I think she always gives her all,” Ferguson said. “I ask a lot from her, and she very rarely does she get subbed. For her to do what she does, it is nothing but hard work … She stepped up, she played hard, and she scored when she needed to help put us in a position to win.”