Alexis Carter readily admits she picked her spots on last year’s Southwest Atlanta Christian team, deferring to the seniors. Carter feels more of a burden to produce and lead the way this season.
She did just that on Tuesday, scoring 16 of her game-high 20 points after halftime as the Warriors held off Greater Atlanta Christian 57-54 in overtime. The 6-1 senior also grabbed 17 rebounds and dished out a couple of key assists down the stretch. When the Spartans jumped out to double Carter in the post, she quickly recognized it and fed the ball to an open teammate, often the cutting Amy Griffin.
“We did a great job on the blocks on the high-low with Carter and Griffin,” Southwest coach Jackie Cowan said. “The high-low was the key. We made some big baskets in overtime.”
With a decided height advantage over the Spartans, Southwest Atlanta’s plan was to attack them inside, Cowan said. But the Warriors couldn’t shake GAC as the Spartans, led by
Sydni Means, Cii Cii Buford and Brianna Cummings, repeatedly pressed the visitors and intercepted passes. Southwest Atlanta led 26-22 at the half but never led by more than six points as the teams traded buckets throughout. A 3-pointer by Cummings tied the score at 49-49 with 39 seconds left and sent the game into overtime, but a Carter layup gave Southwest Atlanta a 54-49 lead with 1:35 remaining in the extra session. GAC closed to within three points but a final desperation heave by Means was blocked by Marquita Daniels.
Carter, who is considering Georgia and LaSalle, said she and her teammates just did what Cowan told them to do: stay focused, stay in front of your man and make good passes. Carter played the final 11 minutes of the game with four fouls yet still dominated on both ends to help the Warriors improve to 17-2. “Last year I felt like I depended on my teammates,” said Carter, who’s averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds per game. “This year, I feel like I’m supposed to step it up every game.”
Southwest Atlanta has beaten Wesleyan, which it lost to in the finals last season, Buford and now GAC. But Cowan said her girls have to play better if they’re to return to the finals. “It was good to pull out the win based on what I thought was a mediocre performance,” she said. “It was a good win but we need to work on consistency. We’re not where we need to be. I’m satisfied with the win but not satisfied with the performance. We’ve got some work to do.”
Griffin and Amber Brown finished with 11 points.
GAC coach Cal Boyd applauded his team’s effort but said it had too many turnovers. “We started throwing it around and it becomes contagious,” he said. “We turned it over too many times.”
The Spartans, who dropped to 16-5, were playing their fourth game in five days, all against top competition. “It was important because we’ll have the same kind of stretch come state playoffs,” he said. Means paced GAC with 19 points while Cummings added 17.