Class 2A girls final: Josey 47, Fannin County 42

The Josey Eagles won the Class 2A girls basketball championship with a 47-42 victory over Fannin County on Thursday, March 11, 2021, at the Macon Coliseum.
caption arrowCaption
The Josey Eagles won the Class 2A girls basketball championship with a 47-42 victory over Fannin County on Thursday, March 11, 2021, at the Macon Coliseum.

Credit: Chip Saye

Credit: Chip Saye

Josey held Fannin County scoreless for an eight-minute stretch in the second half and rallied from a 14-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the Rebels 47-42 in the Class 2A girls basketball championship game Thursday at the Macon Coliseum.

Josey (20-6), the only unranked girls team to reach the finals, won its first state title since 1998. Sixth-ranked Fannin County (23-5) fell short of its first championship since 1999.

Ky’Shonna Brown gave Josey its first lead since the first quarter when her layup put the Eagles up 43-42 with 43 seconds remaining in the game, and Josey went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 20 seconds to secure the victory. The Eagles had made only 10 of 21 free-throw attempts until the closing seconds.

“I had to tell myself about three or four times in the second half that we’ve been here before, we’ve done this before, don’t get down, don’t let the girls see you get down, and don’t allow them to get down,” Josey coach Jawan Bailey said. “And that’s what I did. I just tried to keep motivating them. ... We’ve been playing from behind the last three rounds of the playoffs, so we were never in a terrible spot where we didn’t believe we could finish it off.”

Fannin County, leading by four points at halftime, scored the first 10 points of the third quarter and led 33-19 after a jumper by Becca Ledford with 4:59 left in the period. The Rebels’ lead was still 12 points when a 3-pointer by Natalie Thomas made the score 38-26 three minutes later, but the Rebels would not score again until a layup by Courtney Davis with 1:52 left in the game.

By that time, Josey had pulled even. Davis’ layup and two free throws by Ledford 30 seconds later restored Fannin County’s lead to four points, but the Rebels didn’t score again.

Junior Aqoyas Cody was the key to the Eagles’ comeback. She scored 11 of her game-high 15 points in the second half, including six consecutive after Fannin County had built its 14-point lead. Her layup with 2:21 remaining tied the score at 38-38. Cody also finished with 10 rebounds. Brown added 11 points for the Eagles.

“We weren’t hitting outside shots in the first half,” Bailey said. “Even though they were playing a zone, we had to make sure we had chances around the paint. Aqoyas Cody did a really amazing job being physical in the paint. She really got it going for us as far as scoring the ball in the second half. I think she set a trend, to just get in there and get physical and hope for the best. And that’s what happened for us.”

Ledford, a co-player of the year in Region 7, was Fannin County’s only double-figures scorer, with 14 points. She also had seven rebounds and three assists. Abby Ledford and Davis added nine points each, and Reagan York had 10 rebounds.

Josey - 11-8-11-17 - 47

Fannin County - 12-11-15-4 - 42

Josey (47)

Aqoyas Cody 15, Ky’Shonna Brown 11, Jamirah Mitchell 8, Arieonna Booker 7, Deajah Houck 3, Laura Jarrett 3, Mercedes Dames, Bra’nasia Henderson, JaCayla Shorty.

Fannin County (42)

Becca Ledford 14, Courtney Davis 9, Abby Ledford 9, Natalie Thomas 6, Reagan York 4, Paige Foresman, MacKenzie Johnson, Olivia Sisson, Prisila Bautista.