Defending 3A Champs, GAC Spartans Back in Final Four With 53-43 Win Over Johnson
On Wednesday as the Georgia High School Association basketball state championship tournaments continued, the defending Class 3A champs were in action as they hosted Johnson Atom Smashers who won back to back titles in 2018 and 2019. As the game got underway, nerves may have played a role in the slow start for both teams as the first quarter would come to an end with a low score of the Spartans leading Johnson 8-5. In the second quarter, GAC would gain a little more momentum as they outscored the Atom Smashers 12-6 in the period to take a 20-11 lead into the locker room at the half.
Johnson fought hard throughout most of the night as they would own the third quarter outscoring the Spartans 22-16 to trail 36-33 heading into the fourth quarter. In the final period of play, the Atom Smashers had a window of opportunity when the Spartans' Laurren Randolph would foul out as GAC led 45-37 eith 3:08 remaining, but they would not be able to capitalize off the absence of the Spartans' center and GAC would hold off Johnson and pick up the 53-43 win. Jaci Bolden led the Spartans with 17 points, with Kaleigh Addie contributing 16 points in the GAC win.
Following the game, GAC head coach Jessica Guarneri acknowledged that her girls came out "flat" to start the game. "We just came out real flat. Not moving, not moving the ball real well and I think their defense looked really huge to us, so it took a while for us to get into a rhythm which is a little bit frustrating, but we made some adjustments and we got it done." Up next for the Spartans will be Upson Lee who they will host on Saturday and when asked about what she would like to see her girls work on in preparation for Saturday's match up, Guarneri said she felt great about their defense adding that she felt her girls work hard, especially with their help defense but on the offensive end, "we struggled, so I would like to see more consistency," Guarneri said, adding, "creating more movement on offense and doing a better job at finishing."
Watch highlights and post game interview with GAC Spartans head coach Jessica Guarneri below now!