The top-ranked Grayson girls basketball team entered Saturday’s Class 7A championship game at the Macon Coliseum with a chance to finish the season as the only unbeaten team in Georgia, girls or boys.

The Rams quickly proved up to the task, knocking North Paulding down with a 15-0 run for a 17-2 lead in the first seven minutes and cruising to a 65-44 victory to claim the first state title in program history.

Grayson became the first girls team to go undefeated in the highest classification since Westlake in 2019.

The Rams were dominant during their entire 32-0 season, winning every game but one - a 55-52 overtime victory over Class 2A champion Mount Paran Christian - by at least 15 points. Grayson defeated North Paulding 75-37 in the regular season and won its five playoff games by an average of 30.4 points.

And the work is not done for the Rams. Coach Tim Slater said the team has been invited to play in the Chipotle Nationals, formerly the GEICO Nationals, in early April.

“The kids all had that goal at the beginning of the year,” Slater said of going undefeated. “They all thought it was feasible. They worked really hard and kept the intensity all year. The defense, that was our big thing all year. All these kids can score, and in a world where everybody cares about stats, to see 11 kids connected like that defensively is huge.”

The game was tied 2-2 after a driving layup by North Paulding’s Marina Sippola with 4:40 remaining in the first quarter. Then the Rams went on their decisive run, led by the four players who have been so integral to their success this season - Danielle Carnegie, Tatum Brown, Erin Rodgers and Malaya Jones. They combined for all 15 points in the run and 63 of the Rams’ 65 points in the game.

Carnegie led the way with 21 points, eight rebounds, four steals and two assists. Rodgers had 18 points, on 7-for-11 shooting, and six rebounds. Brown scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, and Jones had 10 points and three assists.

“Any one of these kids can be a leading scorer, so for them to make sure they make the right play, for us to spread it out like that, it shows what their goals are and where their hearts are,” Slater said. “That’s pretty cool.”

Grayson’s lead reached 20 points for the first time on a layup by Carnegie with 38 seconds remaining in the half that made it 35-14, and it was a 37-14 game at halftime.

Sixth-ranked North Paulding (25-7) played much better in the second half, actually outscoring the Rams 30-28 over the final 16 minutes, but the hill was too big to climb.

The Wolfpack scored the first eight points of the second half, four each by Sippola and Kaden McCorvey, to get within 37-22. However, Grayson scored the next four points to make it 41-22, and North Paulding never got closer than 17 points.

Sippola led the Wolfpack with 12 points.

“It actually hasn’t sunk in yet for us to be 32-0 and be perfect,” Slater said. “We still have the national tournament that we’ve been invited to looming, so we’re not satisfied yet, but I’m sure it will hit me on the bus ride home.”

Grayson - 21-16-13-15 - 65

North Paulding - 5-9-15-15 - 44

Grayson (65): Malaya Jones 10, Tatum Brown 14, Danielle Carnegie 21, Taj Hunter 2, Erin Rodgers 18, Zoie Lofton, Jayla Bennett, Camryn Lucas, Jahmaica Clegg, Tamera Rudolph, Jenaisah Alexander.

North Paulding (44): Jayda Jackson 7, Morgan Landrum 3, Ava Andrews 7, Kaden McCorvey 6, Marina Sippola 12, Hadara King, Ari Moore, Andrea Landrum 8, Kalee Hinkson, Ijeoma Ozurumba 1, Amiyah Leacock, Amirah Howell.