LOGANVILLE -- With its best player out of the lineup, Salem had a tough time stopping Habersham Central's best.
Raiders center Haley Gerrin scored 18 points and without Ayanna Mitchell in the lineup, Salem had trouble finding points in a 50-36 loss in the Region 8-AAAA championship game Friday at Loganville High School.
Mitchell, an all-region performer as a freshman, injured her knee late in Salem's semifinal victory over Flowery Branch and was on crutches during the title game.
The game was tied at 22-22 late in the third, but Habersham (22-6) went on a long run that broke the game open. Gerrin had two putbacks and the Raiders knocked down three 3-pointers-two by Kenzie Fleming -- during a 13-1 spurt that made it a 35-23 game with just under six minutes to play. Salem (19-8) got as close as 10 points on two of Shay Tarver's 18 points.
Habersham built a lead as large as five points in the opening half, going up 15-10 on a steal and layup by A.C. Brown. The Raiders again led by five points early in the third before Salem had an 8-3 run, which included a long 3-pointer from Nikkira Brown, to pull even at 22-22 with just under a minute left in the third.
Habersham, which also got 11 points from Emily Robinson, will host the No. 4 seed from Region 7-AAAA, while Salem welcomes the No. 3 seed to Conyers in Class AAAA first round games this weekend.