Carly Heidger’s layup with 2:12 remaining in overtime broke a 46-46 tie, and top-ranked Hebron Christian scored the final five points of the game to defeat No. 4 St. Francis 51-46 in the Class A Private girls basketball championship game Wednesday at the Macon Coliseum.

St. Francis guard Mia Moore sent the game to overtime when she made two free throws with 0.4 seconds remaining after Malia Fisher gave Hebron Christian a 44-42 lead on a layup with 12 seconds left. The Lions outscored St. Francis 7-2 in the extra period.

The championship was the first in girls basketball for Hebron Christian (29-2), but not for its coach, Jan Azar, who won 13 state titles at fellow Gwinnett County private school Wesleyan.

“It means everything,” Azar said. “I won a first at Wesleyan back in 2002, and we talked to the girls about that. Some of our players who were on that team gave them a message about what it means to bring home that first trophy for your school, and I think that meant a lot to them. So they set a tradition, and now they’re leaving a legacy.”

Fisher, the Region 5 player of the year, picked up two fouls early in the second quarter and spent the final five minutes of the half on the bench. When she returned, she was the key for the Lions in the second half, scoring 13 of her team-high 18 points, including all 10 of Hebron Christian’s fourth-quarter points. Fisher also had 11 rebounds.

“Malia picked up two early fouls, but I feel like we played really well while she was on the bench,” Azar said. “So we maintained and waited for her to get off that bench. Then she came in in the second half and did a really good job.”

Hebron Christian's Carly Heidger (5) fights for a rebound against St. Francis players during the Class A Private girls basketball championship game Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at the Macon Centreplex in Macon. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Hebron Christian's Carly Heidger (5) fights for a rebound against St. Francis players during the Class A Private girls basketball championship game Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at the Macon Centreplex in Macon. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Hebron Christian was held without a field goal in the first quarter but trailed only 6-5. The Lions didn’t get their first basket until Nicole Azar made a layup with 7:02 remaining in the half. She followed that with a 3-pointer on the Lions’ next possession, helping ignite an 18-6 run that turned a 6-4 deficit into a 22-12 lead. St. Francis scored the final six points of the quarter to make it a 22-18 game at halftime.

Hebron Christian led for most of the second half, although never by more than eight points.

Azar finished with 11 points for Hebron Christian, and Heidger added nine. Jessie Parish had nine points and 11 rebounds.

St. Francis (24-5) had one-point leads twice in the second half, the last time at 39-38 on a layup by Moore with 3:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. Moore led the Knights with 18 points, and Erica Moon had 14. They combined for 24 of the Knights’ 28 points in the second half and overtime.

*

Hebron Christian - 5-17-12-10-7 - 51

St. Francis - 6-12-14-12-2 - 46

Hebron Christian (51)

Malia Fisher 18, Nicole Azar 11, Carly Heidger 9, Jessie Parish 9, Amiya Porter 2, Malia Melton 2, Ella Heard, Bella Rodriguez, Sydney Whalen, Carly Fahey.

St. Francis (46)

Mia Moore 18, Erica Moon 14, Trynce Taylor 6, Ryin Tillis 5, Sa’Mya Wyatt 2, Morgan Harper 1, Anaja

Hall, Nya Young.

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