AJ, LHS battle for girls title

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By Robert Howey

County foes Lancaster and Andrew Jackson meet for the third time this season, with the girls' championship in the Comporium Christmas Classic at AJ High on the line.

The Lady Bruins and Lady Vols tangle at 7 p.m. today.

AJ advanced with a 51-43 win over North Central and the Lady Bruins, who have defeated AJ twice during regular-season play, earned a title game bid with a 54-40 win over Great Falls.

In the AJ win, the Lady Vols held a 25-23 lead at the break, but took control in the third period to take a 40-31 lead on the Lady Knights.

Caroline Phillips hit five of her seven points in the crucial third period to aid the AJ hopes. Eric Ealy, who netted a game-high 19 points, including 11 in the first half, scored four points in AJ's key third-period run.

Karmen Twitty was also in double figures for the Lady Vols, netting 10. Jazzy Gripper supplied six points. McKenzie Stribling scored five and Rachael Dippel added four points.

Samantha Threatt and Kayla Dopart scored 16 points each to lead North Central.

Great Falls and North Central open play today at 4 p.m. for the girls' consolation round. The boys' consolation round has Lancaster meeting the AJ, which fell to North Central 72-48 in the final game Thursday night.

The girls' title game between Lancaster and AJ's girls is at 7, with the boys' championship game at 8:30.

Great Falls meets North Central boys, a first-round winner over AJ.

The Lancaster Lady Bruins earned a bid to the girls' title game in the Comporium Classic with a 54-40 win over Great Falls on Thursday afternoon.

The Lady Bruins took control of the game in the third period.

LHS held a 25-19 edge at the break, but outscored the Lady Red Devils 17-10 in the pivotal third quarter to forge a 42-28 edge.

The Lady Bruins held the upper hand the rest of the way in taking the 14-point win.

Tamesha Fletcher hit five of her eight points in the third quarter to lead LHS. Tesha Tipton, who hit nine, and Demaya Jones, who scored seven, added four points each in the pivotal third quarter.

"We played in spurts in the first half, but we picked up the pace of the game and turned up the intensity in the third quarter to get control of the game," LHS coach Ronnie Robinson said.

Miteka Trueheart paced the Lady Bruins with 14 points. Tesha Tipton tallied nine points.

Quana Jones and Fletcher scored eight points apiece in LHS's balanced attack.

Demaya Jones netted seven points. Courtney McCrorey and Tarah Tipton each chipped in three points. Tenisha Howze had two points.

Great Falls, for the second straight year, earned a berth in the boys' title round with a win over Class AAAA Lancaster.

The Red Devils took the early lead and stayed in control for a 64-52 win over the Bruins.

Great Falls owned a 33-23 lead at the break and stretched it to 48-36 after three quarters.

Jeremy Simpson sparked the Red Devils with 19 points. Nate Nelson followed with 12 points and Desmar Anderson added 11 points.

The 4-3 Bruins were led by guard Shurdell Wright's 21 points, which included three treys.

Casey Catoe followed with eight points. Mitchell Belk and Xavier Holloway added six points each. Michael Catoe had five points. Avery Harris hit four and Gerard Brace netted two points.

In the final game Thursday, NC topped AJ 72-48. Ronta Drakeford hit 24 and Harrison Toney tallied 15 for the Knights.

Cedric Wright led AJ with 14 and Jonathan Belk added nine points. Elijah White hit eight.