Class A Division II girls: Clinch County 45, Lake Oconee Academy 42

Credit: Chip Saye

Credit: Chip Saye

Junior Tyana Dorsey recorded a double-double, and her putback with 2:38 remaining gave No. 5 Clinch County the lead for good in a 45-42 victory over top-ranked Lake Oconee Academy in the Class A Division II girls basketball championship game Wednesday at the Macon Coliseum.

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The junior center scored 19 points and pulled down 20 rebounds to lead the fifth-ranked Panthers (27-4) to the program’s first state title since 1993 and fifth overall. Lake Oconee County (28-3) won its first championship in the sport last year in Class A Public.

“Dorsey did unbelievable,” Clinch County coach Chase Daniel said. “She’s stepped up as a leader the last two games. Her mindset’s different, and she’s a lot more positive. I don’t mean to say positive like she was always negative, but it was more of a confidence issue. We all believed in her, but once she believed in herself, the world changed.”

Dorsey and freshman forward Amariah Dean led an inside game that dominated Lake Oconee Academy throughout. The Panthers finished with a 43-31 rebounding advantage, which led to 18 second-chance points. Dean scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

“I just wanted us to win because we hadn’t been here before. I wanted us to win badly,” Dorsey said. “I wanted the team to step up and do it all together, and we did.”

Lake Oconee Academy led 30-22 midway through the third quarter, the biggest lead of the game for either team, and still held a six-point advantage heading into the fourth. Clinch County opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run, taking a 37-36 lead on two free throws by A’Miyeon Grady with 5:36 to play.

The lead changed hands six times over the next three minutes, with Dorsey’s putback giving the Panthers a 43-42 lead. Grady’s basket inside with 1:05 remaining provided the final points. Lake Oconee’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer came up short. The Panthers outscored Lake Oconee Academy 15-6 in the fourth quarter.

Clinch County appeared to have the upper hand in the first half, holding the Titans to 29.2-percent shooting (7-for-24) and owning a 22-12 rebound advantage. Lake Oconee went scoreless for almost five minutes to start the game and had another stretch of five minutes without a field goal.

However, the Titans never trailed by more than six points, in large part because of 3-pointers by Georgia Bosart, Jada Williams and Kensi Stevens, and pulled even at 20-20 on a free throw by Hannah Heinen with one second left in the half.

“I can tell you how it was tied, 3-point shots,” Daniel said. “Gollee, those girls can shoot. And it didn’t matter what defense we were in. … They just moved the ball so well and they’ve got chemistry. We just threw the kitchen sink at them and hoped something would stick.”

Williams led Lake Oconee Academy with 16 points, and Heinen had 10. Bosart had eight points and nine rebounds.

Clinch County - 8-12-10-15 - 45

Lake Oconee Academy - 8-12-16-6 - 42

Clinch County (45): Ma’Kyah Rowles 2, A’Miyeon Grady 11, Amariah Dean 9, Di’Nica Grady 4, Tyana Dorsey 19, Destiny Tolbert, Asia Hood.

Lake Oconee Academy (42): Georgia Bosart 8, Jane Monachello 4, Hannah Heinin 10, Jada Williams 16, Kensi Stevens 4, Mary McCommons, Ava Johnson.