SUWANEE, Ga. – The Alpharetta Lady Raiders drew the state’s top-ranked team in the Class AAAAAA quarterfinals, losing 55-41 last week at North Gwinnett.
Alpharetta lost to North Gwinnett 76-50 during the regular season, and played at a slower pace Feb. 26 during the state tournament game. The Raiders trailed 11-5 at the end of the first quarter and 22-13 at the half, finally making a run after North Gwinnett’s lead reached 13 points late in the third period.
The Raiders closed within 34-26 going to the fourth quarter, but North Gwinnett quickly increased its lead to 15, and kept a comfortable margin with some accurate free throw shooting.
Alpharetta (26-5) was led by seniors Kylee Smith and Lauren Brown, who were both held below their averages, scoring 13 and 12 points respectively.
North Gwinnett was sparked by its two senior stars who led the team to the semifinals last season. Maryland signee Lexie Brown scored 17 points and 6-3 Peyton Whitted (Penn State) had 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The Bulldogs also got key contributions from 6-2 Peachtree Ridge transfer Stephanie Amichia, who had 13 rebounds, and fellow transfer Joshlyn Belcher, who played on back-to-back Class A state championship teams at Wesleyan.
North Gwinnett will play Norcross in the championship game Saturday, March 9, in Macon. The teams tied for first in Region 7-AAAAAA during the regular season, with the Bulldogs winning two of three against Norcross, including the region championship game.