The nationally-ranked McEachern Indians capped their 2013-14 season with their 26th consecutive win in the Georgia class 6A championship game defeating the Archer Lady Tigers 81-62 in Macon, Ga. McEachern finishes 29-2, 23-0 vs Georgia teams and should finish inside the top 15 in the final national rankings at seasons end. Entering the contest the Indians were ranked 14th by Max Preps and 15th by USA Today.
McEachern would need to overcome foul trouble and would need to rely on it’s reserves in the second quarter. Starters T’ea Cooper and Calyia Robinson each picked up their third foul eleven seconds apart with 5:11 left int he quarter forcing them to sit with McEachern leading 27-23.
“We talked about how our subs may have to go in at some point. We told the subs that when you go in there you gotta keep it going. When the subs went in we said as long as we were winning it was going to be our game. They did what they had to do,” McEachern head coach Phyllis Arthur said.
After Archer tied the game at 27-all, McEachern’s bench went to work outscoring Archer 12-8 to finish the first half with a 39-35 lead. KlinTisha Martin, Zieandra Bridges and Declaria Daniels all played big roles off the McEachern bench in the second quarter.
Cooper and Robinson returned to the floor to begin the third quarter sparking a 15-2 run pushing the lead to 54-37. Robinson scored seven points, Cooper added a layup while Jade Lewis hit a three ball during the run.
“We decided at halftime that we were gonna have to turn it up a notch because this was a very good team, well coached and they were disciplined so we had to come out and turn it up a notch,” Arthur said.
Turn it up a notch they did outscoring Archer 25-11 in the decisive third quarter taking a 64-46 lead into the fourth quarter. From there they closed out the game with the exclamation point coming with just over two minutes remaining when when T’ea Cooper recovered a loose ball, led the fast break and tossed up an alley-oop layup style to Caliya Robinson for a 77-55 lead. The Lady Indians outscored Archer 16-6 in fast break points. Arthur would go back to her bench getting everyone in the game as the celebration commenced finishing off their 26th straight victory 81-62 to seal the state championship.
“In spite of all the negative things said about us we still won it, they motivated us,” Arthur said.
Arthur was speaking of talk that swirled around her program all season in the way of recruiting and undue influence.
McEachern (29-2) won their second title in three seasons and became the first ever Cobb County (GA) girls program to win multiple state championships since the tournament inception in the mid 1940’s. Robinson led McEachern in scoring with 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked 6 shots while T’ea Cooper tallied 17 points. Jada Lewis chipped in 14 while Taylor Gordon-who sat out her junior season do to transfer rules, had 9 and Aunesha Williams had 8. Off the bench KlinTisha Martin had 5 and Ziendra Bridges had 4 as McEachern won the battle off the bench 13-12.
“I’m overjoyed. It feels great, it feels wonderful. I am so happy especially for Taylor Gordon, she deserved it after sitting out last year because of nothing she did wrong. She could not stay in the Magnet School, she came back home which is our district and she deserved it after sitting out a whole year,” Arthur elated.
Madison and Autumn Newby combined for 41 of Archer’s 62 points. Madison finished with 21 points, 3 rebound, 4 assist and 3 steal but committed 11 turnovers. Autumn put up a double-double with 20 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. Linsey Marchese led Archer (29-3) off the bench with 8. All of them will be returning for Archer next season.