Shay Tarver scored 17 points in her first full-time action since suffering an injury three days ago and the Salem girls basketball team had an excellent shooting night in defeating Mays 62-46 in the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
Tarver, who injured her ankle in the Region 8-AAAAA quarterfinals against Heritage Tuesday, played sparingly over the Seminoles’ final two league tournament games, but bounced back in a big way Friday. She wasn’t alone as her fellow backcourt mates Taylor King and Rosie Kyles added 14 and 13 points, respectively and post player Jennifer Tindi scored 11 points.
The Seminoles also made up for a rare off-night scoring from Region 8-AAAAA player of the year Ayanna Mitchell, who had just seven points, though she was productive in other areas (11 rebounds, four assists and five steals), by hitting 53 percent of their field goal attempts in winning a first-round game for the second straight season.
As a result, Salem (24-3), which avenged a pair of losses to Mays in the first round of both the 2008 and 2010 state playoffs when the teams were in Class AAAA, will play the winner of Region 5 champion Paulding County and Kell in Monday’s round of 16.
Elsewhere in first round action …
Hillgrove girls 84, Alcovy 45
University of Georgia signee Mackenzie Engram had 18 points, Zarriah Pierce and Ja’lyn Reese added 14 each and Tene Thompson chipped in with 12 as the Hawks overwhelmed the visitors from Covington in a Class AAAAAA first round game.
Hillgrove (22-3), the Region 4 runner-up, jumped out to a 22-0 lead in the opening quarter and cruised, setting up a round of 16 game with Region 1 champion Lowndes.
Alcovy finished 10-19.
McEachern girls 104, Rockdale 46
Te’a Cooper scored 22 points to lead four in double figures as the Indians won in a rout in Class AAAAAA. Jada Lewis added 18 points, Celia Robinson, 15 and Taylor Gordon, 12 for McEachern, who moved to 24-2 in winning their 21st consecutive game.
For Rockdale, which finished 13-10, sophomore Sydney Fields led the way with 16 points and Brianna Patton, playing what turned out to be her final game in a Rockdale uniform, added 12. Despite the lopsided defeat, Rockdale coach Gladys King was pleased with the effort against one of the state’s finest teams.
“As I told my girls, I was proud of how aggressive they played,” King said. “I mentioned to my seniors how proud I was of them, some playing through pain all year. As I told my returners, we got work to do during the offseason, but I am proud of the Rockdale Lady Bulldogs because we make no excuses and play the hand we are dealt.”
Stephenson boys 80, Salem 46
The season ended Saturday for the Salem boys basketball team as Stephenson got out to early lead and picked up a lopsided victory in the first round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.
The third-seeded Seminoles, who extended a school-record by reaching the state tournament for the fourth straight season, finished 9-20.
“We knew they were a tough team and we felt like we could play with them, but we just did not execute the game plan that we had set up. It was tough, they came out and jumped all over us,” said Salem coach Noah Harrell.
Austin Samuel scored 13 points and Quintavius Byrd added nine to lead Salem.
“It’s a disappointing way to finish the season, but we made it to state for (the) fourth consecutive year. We just want to grow as a program and take that next step of going deep into the state playoffs.”
Stephenson (15-6), the Region 6 runner-up, will play the winner of Osborne-Hiram in the second round.
Pebblebrook boys 68, Rockdale 50
Ty Hudson scored 20 points, Derek Ogbeide added 12 points and 14 rebounds and the host Falcons win Class AAAAAA. Kevin Murph added 10 points for Pebblebrook, which improved to 22-5. Rockdale finished 10-17.