By Zack Huffman
ATLANTA-Mundy's Mill continued its miraculous season Friday night, when the Lady Tigers put away East Coweta in the 4-AAAAA semi-finals, 65-45.
Scoring obviously helped, but the primary factor in Mundy's Mill success lay in the rebounding ability. For every shot that East Coweta missed, the Lady Tigers were right there to grab the ball out of the air and send it back for a clean score.
Mundy's Mill took an early lead on the Lady Indians, establishing a six-point lead by the end of the first quarter.
Just when it appeared that East Coweta was working on a comeback, the clock ran out in the first half.
Coming into the third quarter five points ahead, the Lady Tigers attacked defensively, holding the Lady Indians to just four points.
With a 16-point hill to climb, the Lady Indians struggled to compete with the Lady Tigers in the final quarter, ultimately coming 21 points short of a win.
Tandrea High led the Lady Tigers with a series of inside shots for a total of 22 points.
Bryonne Ballard contributed 15 points.
"Ballard has really stepped up. If there was an MVP for the second half of the season it would be her," said coach Lonnie Farmer.
"I'm ecstatic. We've come a long from the beginning of the season," said Farmer. "We started the season struggling and doubtful and now we're playing with a lot of poise and confidence."
After going 4-6 in the first half of the season, the Lady Tigers have continued to dominate, taking just a single loss since the holiday break leading into a set of standout region tournament performances that will culminate Saturday night against Westlake, the region's top-ranked team.
Westlake 65, Riverdale 51
Riverdale felt the burn of retribution Friday night when the Westlake Lions avenged an early season loss to the Raiders, 65-51.
In a game with two evenly matched teams it finally came down to whoever made the least mistakes. Unfortunately, for the Raiders mistakes cost them in the final quarter.
"We went into a stretch in the fourth quarter where they just dominated the boards," said coach Derick Powell. "We went from up to down in a two-minute span."
Judson Dillard scored the most for Riverdale with 17 points. Carlos Collier contributed 10 points to Riverdale's side of the scoreboard.
The Raiders and Lions battled through a stalemate, with a 30-point tie at halftime.
In the third quarter, Riverdale jumped ahead to a six-point lead with just eight points remaining in the game.
The Lions finally edged their region opponents in the final quarter with a series of sixteen successful shots from the free throw line, while Riverdale was only able to sink four points.
Westlake 78, Riverdale 40
The Lady Raiders did not fare any better than their male counterparts, taking a crushing 78-40 loss to the Westlake's Lady Lions.
"They just wore us down with their size," said coach Tony Brinson. "They were too physical for us."
Riverdale struggled to hang on as Westlake's momentum developed into a tidal wave of scoring.
The outlook for Riverdale was bleak from the beginning with the Lady Raiders suffering from a 14-point deficit at the half.
It only got worse from there with Westlake scoring 22 then 23 points in the third and fourth quarters.
Although they lost, both teams from Riverdale will continue their seasons, each fighting for the third seed in their respective state tournaments.
The boys from Riverdale will face Creekside Saturday night while the Lady Raiders take on East Coweta.