By Robert Haddocks
After a nip-and-tuck half between two rivals, Wesleyan found itself trailing after a quick 3-pointer by Greater Atlanta Christian. The lead would be short lived.
Wesleyan turned to its decided height advantage. Keevana Edwards and Paige Mosley converted offensive rebounds. Mosley followed that with bucket in the lane. Lauren Frerking scored inside the paint and Cairo Booker hit a layup after a steal. The 10-0 run gave Wesleyan a 36-28 lead and the Lady Wolves never trailed again en route to a 60-49 win. It was the 400th win for coach Jan Azar, whose team improves to 19-4, 6-0 in Region 6-AA.
The Lady Wolves’ press forced several turnovers in the second half and they took advantage of their size. “We did a good job on the boards,” Azar said. “(GAC) was playing tough in the first half, but we started utilizing our size, getting on the boards and taking the ball to the basket.”
Frerking led the Wolves with 15 points and Booker and Brittany Stevens each added nine. GAC stayed within striking distance and trailed 47-39 at the end of the third period, but never got within six points the rest of the way. Brianna Cummings scored a game-high 22 points to pace the Spartans and Sydni Means had 11. GAC drops to 17-6 and 4-2, both region losses to Wesleyan.
GAC coach Cal Boyd said the 10-0 run was a big blow to the Lady Spartans. “It was just sort of a mental breakdown,” he said. “We began to turn it over a little too much. But they hurt us inside and hit some key 3-pointers, but the majority of it was at the rim and on put-backs. Their size hurt us in the second half.”
Stevens, the smallest player on the court, also did her share of damage. The diminutive point guard recorded four steals and ran the show on offense. After GAC trimmed the third-quarter lead to five points, 44-39, Stevens nailed a 3-pointer from the key. Her drive through traffic and layup pushed the Lady Wolves’ lead to 10 points at 51-41 in the fourth quarter. And after GAC cut the lead to six, 55-49 with less than two minutes, she found Frerking underneath for an easy bucket. “She’s our floor general,” Azar said. “She’s the smallest but one of the toughest. She’s a coach on the court out there.”
After the win, Azar had her moment on the court, as she was honored for her historic win. “The region win meant a lot, but to have 400 all at one school and have it happen here at Wesleyan on the home court mean a lot.”
And there’s bad news for the rest of the region – and state: Azar is going anywhere anytime soon. The Lady Wolves have won state titles eight of the last nine years (They were state runner up in 2007). Azar has children in fourth and first grade and she’d like to be at the school when they’re playing. “It’s a great place for them and for me. So I’ll stay as long as they’ll have me.”