Girls: Archer 62, Etowah 33

ajc.com

Credit: Stan Awtrey

Credit: Stan Awtrey

There was no hangover for the Archer girls following a disappointing loss in last weekend’s Region 8-AAAAAA championship game.

The No. 5-ranked Tigers quickly took care of business in the opening round of the state tournament, easily dispatching Etowah 62-33 and setting a couple of milestones along the way. It marked the 100th victory for the program over the last four seasons, was the third straight with 25 or more wins and continued the school's perfect record for home playoff games.

“We have a resilient bunch of kids and we as a coaching staff try to keep things in perspective,” Archer coach Ryan Lesniak said. “The kids showed up tonight ready to play. I was excited with the effort and the ball movement tonight. I thought we shared the ball really well.”

Archer (25-4) had nine of its 10 players score in double figures: Asia McCoy with 13, Indiana commitment Linsey Marchese and Autumn Newby with 12 each and Tia Shorter with 11 and none played in the fourth quarter. Newby had eight rebounds and three steals, Marchese had four rebounds and Shorter had four assists and four steals.

Etowah (14-13) was led by Mackenzi Leigh with 12 points.

Archer jumped out to a quick 11-2 start and, after Etowah got back to within four points, put on the jets. The Tigers went on a 17-2 run, which included the first 14 points of the second quarter, and quickly took control. Archer led 31-11 at halftime and 52-24 after three quarters.

“I think Etowah responded really well in the first quarter,” Lesniak said. “We lost some rebounding opportunities and we tried to emphasize that at the quarter break and came out and played really well. (Etowah) does a good job of what they do. They run a lot of backdoor cuts and I felt we defended all of that very well tonight.”

Now things get tough for the Tigers, who entered the Region 8-AAAAAA tournament as the state’s No. 1-ranked team, despite having only one senior on the team. Archer could face two-time defending state champion and No. 3-ranked McEachern in the second round, if the Indians win Wednesday against Valdosta. The third-round opponent might be No. 2-ranked Norcross, that won three of four state championships from 2010-2013.