Behind a big game from LeeAnna McNulty, Honaker had a huge second half and rolled to a 72-57 win in the Region 1D semifinals.
McNulty had 19 of her 29 points over the final two quarters and also hauled down 16 rebounds for the game. The 6-foot-3 center took over late by driving to the bucket and icing the contest at the free-throw line, sending the Lady Tigers into a championship match with Patrick Henry.
View the photo gallery from the game
“She’s a handful and she’s the best player in our region hands down,” Eastside coach Barry Ruff said. “Our strength all year has been the third quarter and they won the third tonight by about 11. We get beat in ballgames like that. All in all, they killed us on the boards tonight and that’s been another one of our strengths this year.”
The Lady Tigers outrebounded the Lady Spartans 35-21.
The game’s breaking point came with 2:58 left in the third quarter when Honaker closed the period with a 9-0 run that eradicated a 44-44 tie.
It was never the same for the Lady Spartans after that.
“Our girls played really hard defensively, but they killed is on the boards in the fourth quarter when it mattered,” Ruff said. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t win the game, but these girls overachieved this year. We only lose one senior and we bring back nine of our 10 players next year.”
Kaylee Yates led Eastside with 20 points and Anna Whited netted 18.
“We started two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior. These girls ran through the district undefeated and had the lead at halftime over the best team in the region. Nobody would’ve given us that chance in the preseason. I’m tickled with them and they’re a great group to work with,” Ruff concluded.
Lara McClanahan chipped in 14 points for Honaker and Halle Hilton and Kyla Boyd each added 12.
LADY REBELS ROLL
Patrick Henry sophomore Breanna Yarber established her presence early and finished with a game-high 32 points in the Lady Rebels’ 64-44 semifinal win over Grundy. She also grabbed nine rebounds.
Patrick Henry never trailed. The Lady Golden Wave pulled to within two, 15-13, early in the second quarter but a quick 5-0 Lady Rebels outburst took back control and Patrick Henry led 32-21 at halftime.
Maggie Deel scored 12 points and Emma Deel had 11 to lead Grundy.
Kaycee Deskins and Payton Monahan each contributed a dozen for Patrick Henry.
The Hogoheegee District champions meet the Lady Tigers at 6 p.m. in the Region 1D finals at Virginia High.