Class 3A girls final: Lumpkin County 51, Greater Atlanta Christian 47

Every time Greater Atlanta Christian appeared to have taken control of the Class 3A girls basketball championship game Friday at the Macon Coliseum, Lumpkin County had an answer.

Lumpkin’s final response, a 14-0 run to start the fourth quarter, was enough to bring home the program’s first state championship.

Averie Jones scored eight of her game-high 17 points in that decisive run to lead the top-ranked Indians (30-1) to a 51-47 victory over No. 5 GAC (25-7), which was seeking its 10th state title and second in three seasons.

GAC outscored the Indians 9-2 over the final four minutes of the third quarter to take a 40-32 lead into the fourth, setting the stage for the comeback.

Kate Jackson’s rebound and putback with 6:52 remaining ignited the Indians’ rally. Jones followed with a three-point play, a 3-pointer and a short jumper to give Lumpkin County a 42-40 lead with 3:47 to play. It was the Indians’ first lead of the game.

Mary Mullinax and Jones each scored in the next minute for a 46-40 lead.

GAC managed to pull even at 47-47 on a steal and layup by Kaleigh Addie with 48 seconds left, but a basket by Jackson and two free throws by Mullinax down the stretch put the game away.

Lumpkin County coach David Dowse said there was no magic formula that got the Indians going in the fourth quarter.

“We just said, ‘If you want a championship, go get it. You’ve got eight minutes to be a champion, go get it,’” Dowse said. “I said to keep them in front, but that’s what we talked about since the get-go, no second shots, rebound, try to protect the basketball, although we struggled with that a little bit down the stretch. But we didn’t change anything schematically. We just said, ‘If you want to be a champion, go get it.”

GAC was dominant in the early going, taking an 11-2 lead in the first four and a half minutes, but Lumpkin County scored eight consecutive points to cut the lead to 11-10.

The Spartans led by six points in the second quarter and the first half of the third, only to see the Indians get back to within one each time, before closing out the third quarter with the eight-point lead.

“I’m not surprised, but I’m extremely proud,” Dowse said of his team’s repeated comebacks. “This group plays for one another, and when you have that magic of the kids playing for each other, they’re not going to quit.”

Lumpkin County’s Jackson finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Lexie Pierce had 12 points, five assists and two steals.

Addie led GAC with 16 points, six steals and five rebounds. Jaci Bolden scored 13 points.

Lumpkin County - 10-9-13-19 - 51

Greater Atlanta Christian - 14-8-18-7 - 47

Lumpkin County (51): Averie Jones 17, Kate Jackson 15, Lexi Pierce 12, Mary Mullinax 5, Ava Jones 2, Ciera Brooks.

Greater Atlanta Christian (47): Kaleigh Addie 16, Jaci Bolden 13, Trinity Thomas 9, Sydney Lucas 6, Myla Benton 3, Kai Price.