Although it added another notch in the win column, the GMC Prep Lady Dogs (17-4 overall, 13-1 region) hope to put Saturday’s performance behind them.
The Lady Dogs closed out their regular season with a 49-30 win over region foe Aquinas, but shot only 27 percent in the process. GMC Prep head coach Shawn Dennis knows his girls will have to step up their game this week while competing as a No. 1 seed in the Region 7-A tournament.
“If we could hit some layups and free throws consistently we’d be better off,” Dennis told The Union-Recorder after the Saturday home win. “We’re leaving too many points out there to be coming up on the region and state tournaments. We’ll have to clean that up.”
The regular season finale wasn’t all bad though. Actually it could be the start of a strong run if the Lady Dogs can keep it rolling. What started as a subpar free throw shooting performance turned around late as Dennis’ team hit 11 of its last 12 attempts from the charity stripe, helping the GMC girls to a 22-point fourth quarter. The visiting Lady Irish meanwhile, who were down just six entering the final period, were held to only nine points in the frame.
Junior Deandria Stephens led the way for the home team with 16 points on the evening. After the game the team’s two seniors, Kennedy-Paige Davis and Ju’Niah Beal, were honored along with the senior boys basketball players and cheerleaders. The 12th-grade duo closed out their careers on the Cordell Events Center floor with a combined 13 points. Davis also grabbed three rebounds, had three assists and four steals while Beal pulled down eight rebounds in the post.
The Lady Dogs with their impressive 13-1 region record hold one of two No. 1 seeds entering the Region 7-A tournament this week. The eight-team tournament is set to begin today in Macon at Stratford Academy, the top seed from the other sub-region. GMC Prep will square off against Mount de Sales tonight at 7 p.m. Winner moves on to the region semifinals to take on either Wilkinson County or Hancock Central. The semifinal, final and consolation game rounds will be played at Hancock Central in Sparta Friday and Saturday.
GMC Prep and Mount de Sales (10-13 overall, 4-6 region) have not met this season. Though the Lady Cavaliers’ record is not all that impressive, Dennis knows one bad game can severely alter the trajectory of a season.
“You’ve still got to prepare and come out ready to play. We have a tendency to start slow or play to our opponent’s level of competition.”