The two meet Saturday at 7 p.m. in White Plains for the Area 10 championship. Saturday’s winner will be rewarded with a home game is sub-region play next Thursday against the Area 9 runner-up. The Area 10 runner-up must travel to the Area 9 champion.
White Plains was 5-1 in area play during the regular season. The only loss came at White Plains three weeks ago to Saks by a 42-41 margin. White Plains coach Michael Merriman said Saks was able to set the tempo in that game.
“The reason we lost that game was Saks had a good game play and we didn’t slow down and execute. They sped us up, and we let them do that. We need to just make sure that we’re executing and being patient,” Merriman said after watching Saks defeat Piedmont.
“We need to use our skill a little bit more than we do our athleticism because we don’t match up real well with them athletically,” Merriman added. “They like to get up and run, and we want to slow us down because I think we execute better that way.”
Weaver, winless in the area on the year, struggled to score but played tenaciously on defense and made scoring difficult for White Plains for much of the game. White Plains led 12-2 after one quarter then the Wildcats closed the final two minutes of the second quarter with an 8-1 run to lead 26-12 at halftime. Bearcats coach Gary Atchley said the spurt cost his players the sense of momentum they had gained moments earlier.
In the fourth quarter, a 3-point basket by eighth-grader Ciara Hardy and two baskets by Keara Scott cut White Plains’ lead to 33-23. With six minutes to go, the Bearcats had a chance to close to single digits but missed a pair of free throws. Thirty seconds later, White Plains senior Taylor Snellgrove lost her defender and drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the circle. Snellgrove’s trey started an 11-1 run during which the Wildcats ran their delay offense almost to perfection.
White Plains (19-8) got 10 points, six steals and three assists from Amber Greenwood. Ann Katherine Dothard had nine points and five rebounds. Sophie Taylor grabbed nine boards and scored eight points, and Snellgrove finished with seven points, six rebounds and four steals.
Scott led Weaver (3-17) with 14 points.
Saks 47, Piedmont 42: In the late game, Saks outscored Piedmont 18-11 in the second quarter to take a 26-21 advantage at the half. A late free throw by Piedmont’s Carlie Flowers made it 33-32 Saks after three quarters. Saks freshman Tatyana Jenkins got a bucket in the paint on the opening possession of the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
Junior Aliyah Simmons and eighth-grader Miracle Dennard led Saks (8-13) with 10 points apiece. Freshman Maiya Northard added eight points in the win.
For Piedmont (9-18), Flowers had 15 points and eight rebounds. Bre Green scored 11 points and added three assists and four steals. The Bulldogs made just 11 of 28 free throws.