Class AAAAAA girls: Douglas County 53, Collins Hill 48

ajc.com

Credit: Stephen Black - Score Atlanta

Douglas County let an early 13-point lead slip away, but the Tigers outscored Collins Hill 19-9 in the fourth quarter for a 53-48 victory in the second round of the Class AAAAAA girls basketball playoffs Friday in Douglasville.

The victory puts the fourth-ranked Tigers (27-1) in the state quarterfinals for the third time in six seasons. They will face seventh-ranked Parkview at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the University of West Georgia. Parkview (23-7) advanced with a 47-43 victory over Harrison.

Amira Atwater scored seven of her eight points in the fourth quarter and gave Douglas County its first lead since early in the third when she scored five consecutive points to put the Tigers in front 42-41 with 5:58 to play. Sixth-ranked Collins Hill (25-4) answered with five straight points to reclaim the lead at 46-42, but the Eagles scored just two points the rest of the way. Douglas County took the lead for good at 47-46 on a jumper by Arsula Clark with 1:48 left and made six of eight free-throw attempts in the final 1:26 to secure the victory.

“This team has a lot of character,” Douglas County coach Chet Forsh said. “We’ve been in that situation once or twice, not a lot this year, but where we got behind. I told the girls that I think the region championship game [a 48-42 victory over Westlake] helped prepare us mentally for this. We fought back.”

Douglas County took control early with a 13-0 run, and the Tigers led 20-7 in the second quarter after a 3-pointer by Amari Robinson, who scored a game-high 22 points.

Nia Lee sparked Collins Hill’s comeback, making two 3-pointers in the second quarter after the Eagles had started the game 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. The Eagles cut the deficit to 26-20 by halftime and took their first lead of the game at 28-26 on two free throws by Kyra Dixon with 5:28 to play in the third quarter. Collins Hill led 39-34 entering the fourth.

Douglas County got all of its scoring from the starters. Clark had 10 points, Ashanti Brown had nine, and Sayah Brooks added four. Jada Rice led Collins Hill with 12 points, and Lee finished with 11.

“We have a way we play, and we don’t deviate a lot from that,” Forsh said. “They really tried to slow us down some early, because when we’re in the flow running we usually shoot the ball pretty well. When we have to walk it up, it’s a little different. We’d rather run than walk, but you’ve got to learn to play both ways.”