MACON - The Jackson-Atlanta girls basketball team, trailing 19-12 early in the second quarter, outscored Midtown 16-3 over the final six minutes of the first half and 8-0 in the first two minutes of the second on its way to a 58-44 victory in the Class 5A championship game Thursday night at the Macon Coliseum.

The victory was the second-ranked Jaguars’ fourth of the season against its Atlanta Public Schools and Region 5-5A rival and produced the first championship in the school’s history. Jackson (29-1) won 55-47 and 61-58 in the regular season and 56-44 in the region championship game.

Third-ranked Midtown (26-6) was making its first appearance in a championship game, including its history under its former name of Grady.

“I wish we didn’t have to play a city rival or a region rival for a state championship, but that just speaks to the strength of our region,” Jackson coach Maurice Miles said. “We had an agenda from the beginning of the year. We had a salty taste in our mouth from losing in the final four last year. We worked really hard over the summer. I had an old principal that said, ‘Begin with the end in mind,’ and we started the season visualizing being in this place.”

Midtown led 19-12 with 6:14 remaining in the second quarter after a 3-pointer and a short jumper by Devin Bockman before the Jaguars went on their decisive run, scoring the next 14 points, including six by Shakira Gresham, for a 26-19 lead. A 3-pointer by Midtown’s Cate Barton temporarily stopped the run, but Jackson’s Cayden Cornish scored in the lane to make it 28-22 at halftime.

A putback and a layup by Gresham and layups by Kennedie Cooper and Taliah Cornish gave Jackson a 36-22 lead less than two minutes into the third quarter.

Midtown answered with an 11-2 run, with a 3-pointer by Bockman cutting the lead to 38-35 less than a minute into the fourth quarter, but that was as close as the Knights would get.

Bockman was 4-for-5 on 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 23 points.

Jackson’s full-court, pressure defense caused problems all night for Midtown. The Jaguars had 15 steals and forced 22 turnovers that turned into 27 Jackson points.

“We’re a pressing and attacking team,” Miles said. “A lot of times, if we’re not making 3-pointers, that is our go-to. We try to speed teams up to a tempo that is conducive for us. That ball pressure is part of it, both full-court and half-court. That’s one of our tricks in the bag.”

Gresham, a first-team all-region selection and one of the team’s six seniors, led Jackson with 21 points, eight rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots.

“She’s the glue that pretty much holds us together,” Miles said. “She plays out of position. She’s really a guard, but she leads us in rebounds. She plays through pain, she guards the other team’s toughest player, she’s just an all-around great kid, and I’m just happy that she was able to pull this off.”

Aaliyah Weaver had 13 points off the bench for Jackson, and Taliah Cornish had 11 points and six rebounds.

Hailey Wortman scored 11 points for Midtown, and Barton and Briaiah Lewis had 10 rebounds each.

Midtown - 14-8-8-14 - 44

Jackson-Atlanta - 10-18-10-20 - 58

Midtown (44): Cate Barton 3, Devin Bockman 23, Briaiah Lewis 1, Sinclair Richman 6, Hailey Wortman 11, Alexia Davis, Kyla Stewart.

Jackson-Atlanta (58): Kennedie Cooper 4, Cayden Cornish 7, Taliah Cornish 11, Shakira Gresham 21, British McKinney, Aaliyah Weaver 13, Lindsey Myles 2, Journey Conley.