Her­itage bat­tles its way to run­ner-up fin­ish in 6-AAAA

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Scott Herpst

If hav­ing to face off with top-seeded and third-ranked North­west Whit­field wasn’t enough of a task, the Her­itage Lady Gen­er­als had some­thing else to con­tent with dur­ing Satur­day’s Area 6-AAAA cham­pi­onship match. Fa­tigue. A best-of-five ti­tle match is gru­el­ing enough, but hav­ing to play a best-of-five af­ter hav­ing played four other tough matches ear­lier in the day proved to be too tough of an or­der and Her­itage would have to set­tle for the area’s run­ner-up tro­phy when they left Ridge­land High School in the early evening.

Af­ter tak­ing down sixth-seeded South­east Whit­field in a firstround match this past Thurs­day, Her­itage passed their first test on Satur­day morn­ing with a 25-20, 19-25, 25-14 win over sec­ond­seeded LaFayette in the win­ners’ bracket semi­fi­nals.

The Lady Gen­er­als would ride the mo­men­tum of the win over the Lady Ram­blers into the win­ners’ bracket fi­nal were they took the open­ing set off of the Lady Bru­ins. How­ever, North­west re­cov­ered and went on the score the win, 20-25, 25-22, 25-9.

Fall­ing to the elim­i­na­tion bracket, Her­itage would even­tu­ally face LaFayette in a re­match, which the Lady Gen­er­als nar­rowly won, 25-21 and 25-23, to punch their ticket to the fi­nals.

Her­itage dug down deep in the open­ing set against the Lady Bru­ins, lead­ing 8-2 and 20-11 be­fore hold­ing on for a 25-19 vic­tory.

But de­spite the first set win, the tide be­gan to turn as the Lady Gen­er­als’ legs be­gan to show signs of weari­ness, hav­ing al­ready played eight tough games ear­lier in the day.

North­west re­sponded by storm­ing back to win the next two sets by iden­ti­cal 25-11 scores. Her­itage put on a valiant ef­fort in the fourth set, but the Lady Bru­ins would not be de­nied, win­ning the fi­nal set, 25-21, to clinch the area crown and the No. 1 seed for the state tour­na­ment.

“We knew com­ing into to­day that if we, at any point, weren’t suc­cess­ful in beat­ing a team, that we were go­ing to have to play them again and we were go­ing to have to come out of the loser’s bracket,” Her­itage head coach Kari Cooper said. “We just ran out of en­ergy and that was re­ally the big­gest thing.”

It was a big day for Kali Brown, who had 47 kills and 48 digs on the day. Macy Har­ris picked up 37 kills and 35 digs, while Ari­ana Camp col­lected 19 kills. Ashley Clin­ton dished out a to­tal of 110 as­sists on the af­ter­noon.

Brown was named to the 6-AAAA Al­lArea sec­ond team, while Clin­ton earned honor­able men­tion hon­ors.

“We’re play­ing bet­ter than we have in re­cent weeks,” Cooper added. “We’ve fi­nally come to­gether as a team and we’ve found a lineup that works We just need to get our serve re­ceives back to where it was at cer­tain points dur­ing the sea­son. We are mak­ing our of­fense a lit­tle hard to run by not get­ting those first passes in.”

Her­itage (29-13) will open the Class AAAA state tour­na­ment on Wed­nes­day against Jef­fer­son. A win would ei­ther send the Lady Gen­er­als to Cartersville to face the Lady Canes or give them an­other home match against Ch­es­ta­tee.

LaFayette rel­e­gated to No. 3 seed, Ridge­land elim­i­nated

The Lady Ram­blers en­tered Satur­day seeded sec­ond in the area tour­na­ment and ranked eighth in the state, but had to ul­ti­mately set­tle for a No. 3 seed in the state tour­na­ment.

Af­ter an easy win over Gilmer in Thurs­day’s opener and the three-set loss to Her­itage in their first match of the day on Satur­day, the Lady Ram­blers coasted past Pick­ens, 25-10 and 2518, be­fore de­feat­ing South­east Whit­field, 2517 and 25-19. How­ever, they couldn’t get past the Lady Gen­er­als in the re­match and will

be the area’s No. 3 seed when the play­offs start on Wed­nes­day.

Jil­lian Mor­gan had 45 kills and 11 blocks on the day, while Katie Dixon added 16 kills and 29 digs. Gra­cie Stier had 18 kills. Emily Red­den picked up 73 as­sists and Bai­ley Tarvin had 50 to­tal digs.

Mor­gan and Dixon were also named to the All-Area first team, while Tarvin and Red­den were sec­ond team picks by the area’s coaches.

LaFayette (40-12) will

be in­volved in a top 10 match-up in the open­ing round as the Orange­and-Black will play at sixth-ranked North Oconee. A win could give the Lady Ram­blers a home match against LaGrange, but a trip to sec­ond-ranked Marist seems the most likely sce­nario for the sec­ond round.

The win over Pick­ens on Satur­day marked the 100th vic­tory for head coach Chris Lo­gan in his ten­ure with the Lady Ram­blers.

Host Ridge­land, who

en­tered the tour­na­ment as the fourth seed, beat Pick­ens this past Thurs­day, but lost to North­west Whit­field in its first match on Satur­day, 25-10 and 25-14. The sea­son would end for the Lady Pan­thers in the next round with a 25-23, 25-15 loss to South­east.

In­di­vid­ual sta­tis­tics were not avail­able as of press time.

Jayda Jenk­ins was named to the All-Area first team. Ridge­land ended its sea­son a game over .500 at 21-20.

Her­itage’s Kal­lie Carter pro­vides the re­sis­tance for a kill at­tempt by LaFayette’s Sarah Ray dur­ing Satur­day’s 6-AAAA tour­na­ment. (Photo by Scott Herpst)

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