Class AAAAAA Girls: McEachern 58, Norcross 51

For most of the season, Te’a Cooper, a natural playmaker, was forced to carry the load for McEachern, due to season-ending injuries to two of her fellow seniors – forwards Caliya Robinson and Zieandrea Bridges. Cooper did her part, as her young teammates grew up quick making key plays to propel the Indians back into the Class AAAAAA finals.

McEachern held true to that form Saturday at the Macon Centreplex, claiming its second consecutive state title, 58-51`in overtime over Norcross.  Cooper led the way, but it was the play of her teammates down the stretch that made the difference.

Cooper, who played most of the game in foul trouble, had an opportunity to give her team the lead with under 30 seconds left and the score tied at 50, but she missed two free throws. At the other end Indian junior Tierra Lindsey’s tight defense on Norcross’ Taylor Mason – who had nailed a three pointer to tie the game 50-50 with less than a minute remaining – forced Mason into a tough shot that she missed at the buzzer.

In overtime, Cooper’s driving layup right after the tip gave McEachern the lead, 52-50. The Indians pushed the lead to 54-51 after a bucket by junior Jada Lewis. Then with a minute left, Cooper drove to the basket, drew three defenders and found Lindsey along the baseline for a layup that pushed the McEachern lead to 56-51.

Lindsey was fouled on the play, but missed her free throw. But as had been the case all season, another teammate stepped up.  This time it was sophomore forward Jasmine Clements, who grabbed the offensive rebound to maintain possession for McEachern with 30 seconds left.

Cooper looked to dribble out the clock, but stumbled and turned the ball over. Norcross missed an easy layup and Lewis sealed the deal with two free throws with just 11 seconds left.

Cooper finished with a game high 26 points, while sophomore Tylia Gillespie led Norcross with 20.

McEachern     18   7    14   11   8     58

Norcross          15   17   5    13   1     51

McEachern:  Te'a Cooper 26, Chanel Wilson 13, Jada Lewis 6, Tierra Lindsey 6, Jasmine Clements 4, Lyndsey Whilby 2, Daimaya McPherson 1

Norcross:  Tylia Gillespie 20, Taylor Mason 11, Allison Johnson 8, Janee Knorr 6, Vash Perry 6