Macon - The Marietta girls basketball team won its first four playoff games by a total of nine points, so it was only fitting that the championship game would come down to the wire as well.

The fifth-ranked Blue Devils (21-5) withstood a rally by Woodstock that cut a 12-point lead to three in the final five minutes and went on to win 52-47 Saturday night at the Macon Coliseum, capturing their first state championship since 1951 and their second overall.

No. 10 Woodstock (22-9) was seeking its first state title.

Marietta had beaten Pebblebrook 52-49, Parkview 58-54, No. 3 Cherokee 54-53 and No. 2 McEachern 62-61 in the previous four rounds.

“That’s what happens when you play the best competition,” second-year Marietta coach Derrick DeWitt said. “When you play the best competition, you’re going to get their best shot and you’re going to have to withstand it. And we have, we’re the last team standing in 7A, and we’re excited. Each game made us stronger and made us more confident.”

Marietta led 46-34 after two free throws by Loren Nelson with 4:38 remaining, but Woodstock responded with an 11-2 run that made it 48-45 with 48.8 seconds left. However, Maretta was 4-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute. Lauren Walker, a Michigan State signee who led the Blue Devils with 19 points and had 12 rebounds, made two free throws with 11.1 seconds left to put the game away.

“Whenever we’re down, whenever we seem like we’re down, we just keep fighting,” Walker said. “That’s been a trend we’ve seen the entire playoffs, and it just shows how together this team is, just how much we care about each other.”

The game may have been decided in the final minute, but it swung Marietta’s way much earlier. The Blue Devils trailed for much of the first two quarters, but three consecutive 3-pointers - two by Walker and one by Chloe Sterling - in the final 1:36 of the half turned a 15-13 deficit into a 22-15 lead. Marietta outscored the Wolverines 19-4 in the second quarter and never trailed in the second half.

“I’ll tell you, they were right on time,” DeWitt said of the 3-pointers. “We do a lot of shooting in practice, and I was glad to see that it showed through in the state championship game.”

Marietta was never able to pull too far ahead because of the play of Woodstock’s Bridget Utberg. The junior scored 17 of her game-high 26 points in the second half. She was 3-for-11 on 3-pointers and added five steals and four rebounds.

Sterling had 10 points, 15 rebounds, five steals and three assists for the Blue Devils. Woodstock’s Karson Martin had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Casey Mill finished with seven points and 13 rebounds.

Marietta - 4-18-17-13 - 52

Woodstock - 11-4-19-13 - 47

Marietta (52)

Lauren Walker 19, Chloe Sterling 10, Kayla Day 9, Makayah Harris 7, Loren Nelson 7, Treysha Gorman, Shakayla Smith, Ajia Smith, Frances Storey.

Woodstock (47)

Bridget Utberg 26, Karson Martin 12, Casey Miller 7, Savannah Casey 1, Sara Grace Bertolini 1, Annika Gay, Dakota Beasley.

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