The McEachern Indians were staring elimination in the face with just over five minutes remaining. Trailing by ten to Archer (26-6), the Indians put together a 10-0 run over the next two minutes to even the game at 52-all. From there both team went back and for exchanging the lead and were tied several times.
After a scramble led to a jump ball, McEachern had the possession arrow and the ball with nine seconds remaining and the score tied at 57. McEachern advance the ball past half-court and called time with 6.3 remaining
McEachern turned to their playmaker T’ea Cooper on the final possession. Cooper drove left of the lane and hit a scoop shot as time expired (via @keethetrainer) to put McEachern in the finals for the third time in four years. The McEachern bench ran onto the floor and mobbed Cooper during the mass celebration.
“I knew one of three things were going to happen,” McEachern head coach Phyllis Arthur said. “Overtime, foul or a made basket.”
The latter proved to be the end result as Arthur didn’t move on the sidelines after the made basket and celebration commenced until an assistant coach gave her a celebration hug.
Cooper finished with 15 points-11 in the second half, Tierra Lindsey put in 12 and Jada Lewis finished with nine as the Indians ended Archer’s season for the second consecutive season.
Archer was paced by senior Madison Newby who finished with a game-high 18 points while her sister Autumn posted a double-double with 12 points and 19 rebounds.
McEachern (24-6) will face Norcross (28-4) in the class 6A finals next Saturday night in Macon, Ga. Norcross earned their spot by defeated Parkview 53-35.Norcross and McEachern have combined to win the last five state titles in the highest classification. Norcross has won three titles, McEachern has won two and are the defending champions.
Since 2010-11 the teams have split six meetings,once in the finals as Norcross won big 61-36 in 2011. McEachern defeated Norcross 64-61 in the semifinals on their way to their first championship in 2012. The teams have not met since McEachern also won their previous regular season meeting 50-48 during the 2013-14 season.
Nationally neither team is ranked. McEachern ascended to the No. 1 spot at one point this season but fell out in January after multiple losses. Both teams posted 5-1 records against non-Georgia teams this season.