Despite a slow start, the Lake Oconee Academy played three strong periods of basketball to dominate Macon County. The Lady Titans upended the Lady Bulldogs 68-19 to advance to the GHSA A-Public Sweet Sixteen.
Lake Oconee jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but both teams missed easy layups and had various traveling violations in the first several minutes. Although, the Lady Titans ended the first quarter strong as seniors Piper Bosart and Destiny McClendon made consecutive baskets.
Lake Oconee head coach Kevin Furtado was very proud of his teams’ effort after the game.
“Our main focus was our defense,” Furtado said. “We wanted to stop No. 12, their point guard. She’s been good all season and we held her to six and she’s their best player. No. 34 also had six, but that was our goal. We really just focused on defense, man. We have a lot of scorers, so we knew we could out-run them...Eventually, we knew it would open up.”
Both teams traded baskets to start the second quarter, but that’s when Lake Oconee drew the line. Bosart put on an absolute clinic down low as she ended the first half with 16 total points, with 10 of them coming in the second quarter. The senior center also grabbed multiple boards, too. To end the quarter, sophomore Jada Williams nailed a triple with four seconds left followed by a layup by Bosart with a buzzer-beater layup.
With the momentum on their side, Lake Oconee didn’t let up coming out in the second half. In the first three minutes of play, McClendon and Williams helped the Lady Titans extend the lead to 30. A few key defensive stops and mistakes by the Lady Bulldogs caused that lead to extend heading into the final quarter of play. It really got out of hand as Lake Oconee led 54-15 with 1:36 remaining in the third quarter.
Due to a GHSA mercy rule, the fourth quarter started with six minutes instead of eight. MCHS just couldn’t get a shot attempt due to the stout defense by Lake Oconee. Senior Kala Jo Ogletree made several stops downcourt inside the paint and was knocked off feet at times, but she responded by grabbing a couple of rebounds.
“Well take it, we’re healthy and we’re ready to move on to the next round,” Furtado said. “We are going to play Trion on Friday and they’re really good.”
All nine players on the Lady Titans’ roster scored on Tuesday night, which is very rare. Bosart led with 20 points, followed by McClendon and Williams with 13, respectively. The Lady Bulldogs were led by Deziya McClendon, who had six points.
Furtado said that the team hasn’t done a very good job of getting the ball inside but Tuesday was a different story.
“We’ve got the best post-player in Piper (Bosart),” Furtado said. “That was our main focus and she did it. In the next game, we’re playing kind of a small team with good guards. So, we’re going to try and pound it inside. We wanted to kind of get some work on that tonight. We’re going to have a big-time advantage inside, but Trion still has some tough kids.”
Furtado added that Trion is a very good perimeter shooting team, so his defensive strategy will have to change.
On Tuesday night, Trion defeated Wilkinson County 62-21. The Lady Bulldogs will travel nearly four hours to take on the Lady Titans on Friday, Feb. 26. As of Tuesday night, game time has not been decided yet.