Girls basketball: North Cobb 75, Hillgrove 70

A North Cobb girls basketball team that was in the midst of its first rough stretch of the season was on the verge of losing for the fourth time in seven games, falling into a tie for second place in 4-AAAAAA and perhaps dropping out of the Class AAAAAA top 10 for the first time this season.

Then Briah Woods stepped to the free-throw line.

The junior forward made three consecutive attempts with one-tenth of a second remaining to send the game to overtime, and the Warriors went on to a 75-70 victory in double overtime at Hillgrove.

“I feel like I lost about five pounds out there,” North Cobb coach Matt Williams said. “It was an exciting game. I think both of our teams have been struggling a little bit, but we both played hard. We just had some things happen late in the game that were big for us.”

Seventh-ranked North Cobb (16-3, 9-1) holds a half-game lead over No. 8 Hillgrove (14-5, 9-2) and a game lead over No. 9 McEachern (10-7, 8-2) in the region. North Cobb won three of the four games against its closest pursuers and doesn’t play either again in the regular season. Hillgrove and McEachern will play at Hillgrove on Jan. 25.

Woods’ shots were part of an amazing game-closing run by North Cobb at the line. In the fourth quarter and the two overtimes, the Warriors were 23-for-25 on free throws, including one stretch of 19 straight.

“Briah Woods hitting those three free throws with no time left on the clock was just unbelievable,” Williams said. “It was an unbelievable effort from the whole team. Twenty-three out of 25 and 19 in a row … you don’t find many teams, any teams that do that.”

Hillgrove led most of the way but was unable to put the Warriors away.

North Cobb led 19-18 after a layup by Kyrie’ Chandler with 5:18 to play in the second quarter, but Hillgrove answered with a 9-0 run to take a 27-19 lead. The Hawks didn’t trail again until a minute into the first overtime, when Aniya Corley’s 3-pointer put the Warriors ahead 57-55. North Cobb extended the lead to three points at 61-58 with 1:18 to play in the period, but Mackenzie Engram made a free throw and a short jumper to tie the game 61-61 and send it to a second overtime.

North Cobb was in control the rest of the way. Two free throws by Sierra Barrino gave the Warriors the lead for good with 3:24 to play, and North Cobb went 8-for-10 from the line in the final 1:44 to put the game away.

Amber Reeves scored 22 points to lead North Cobb, which also got 14 points from Woods, 13 from Corley and 10 from Alexis Luster.

Engram, who committed the foul that sent Woods to the line at the end of regulation, finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. Aleigha Cass added 25 points for the Hawks.

“We knew we were going to have a tough stretch, playing McEachern, Kell and Hillgrove three out of four,” Williams said. “We can’t lay an egg. We’ve got to play. There’s still some good teams out there ahead of us.”

North Cobb (75): Barrino 4, Chandler 6, Reeves 22, Woods 14, Gray 6, Luster 10, Corley 13, Broadwater, Strahorn.

Hillgrove (70): Thomas 5, Pierce 4, Thompson 6, Engram 26, Cass 25, Smith 2, Anderson 2, Early.

6 comments Add your comment

VChandler

January 19th, 2013
7:51 am

Bria Woods has ice water running through her veins! To be trailing by 3 pts with .1 of a second left and swish all 3 free throws to tie the game in the Hillgrove gym was unreal! I am hoarse from yelling and my hands are sore from clapping. Total team win. Our freshmen came up big with Aniya hitting big shots and Alexis pounding the boards and hitting free throws to ice it. Amber did what she does, Kyrie’ and Jordan made life miserable for Hillgrove guards. MK and Cass balled out for Hillgrove. Great game ladies.

Blue devils

January 19th, 2013
11:37 am

It was a great game between North Cobb and Hillgrove girls.Hate to say it but they don’t have a point guard and the coach don’t know what he is doing.We will see how good of a coach he is after his senior class leaves.Alot of kids have left his program over the years.I can’t wait til next year to see them play Hillgrove and Meachern without the four seniors he has on his team.Then we will see if he can coach!

Warriors

January 19th, 2013
9:26 pm

16-3 is pretty good record to have without a point guard. We will worry about next year, next year. Seems other schools are having trouble THIS year after their seniors left. But regardless how you feel about the coach, the girls made free throws, not the coach. Great game ladies. Again, hats off to Hillgrove too.

Warriors1

January 20th, 2013
9:41 am

Blue Devils you are right alot of people have left that program and they keep winning. Maybe that is because the expectations are more than just ont he basketball court and some can’t handle it. You are probably a disgruntled parent or a claasless aau guy. Either way coach gets his kids to play hard every night and they carry their self with class on the floor. Good luck the rest of the way warriors. Name two point guards who are better than North Cobb’s in the reagion.

Blue devils

January 20th, 2013
11:41 am

Didn’t mean to upset so many people.Just call it like I see it.I call it how I see it.I love the way the girls on North cobb play aggressive defense.When they beat us the first time i was impressed.I played d1 ball and my kids play d1 ball so I know the game.We will play again and you will see a different game.We will talk again after region championships.

VChandler

January 20th, 2013
2:14 pm

The beauty of the game is that it’s not won on blogs, twitter or in ESPN rankings. It’s won between the lines. lol