Miller Grove's press forced 26 turnovers as the Lady Wolverines cruised past the Effingham County Lady Rebels 49-23 and into their second consecutive state championship game during the Class AAAAA State Tournament semifinals on Saturday at Kennesaw State.
While senior forward Klarissa Weaver scored 11 of the first 13 points for Miller Grove, the defense with the help of a full court press limited Effingham County to just two made free throws during the first 10:54 of the first half.
The Lady Rebels (25-6) never made it to the offensive side of the floor two minutes of the game and Miller Grove took a 9-2 lead into the second quarter behind Weaver's offensive display.
Miller Grove continued to expand the lead in the second quarter as Effingham failed to hit a basket until just under a minute to play in the first half. Imani Richadson's layup with 1:05 to play in the half gave the Lady Wolverines a 25-5 advantage as Effingham hit just three of eight free throw attempts in the first seven minutes of the second quarter.
It was more of the same smothering defense to open the second half as Miller Grove limited the Lady Rebels to just one free throw during the first 4:44 of the half. Katie Hunt started the half with a three-point play and Weaver added three more points as the lead ballooned to 36-11.
Effingham closed out the third quarter with a 6-0 run to trim the lead to 38-19 with one quarter to play.
The Lady Rebels would go the entire fourth quarter with no baskets from the floor and hitting just four of six free throws.
Miller Grove would go on a 10-0 run during the middle of the fourth led by five points from Tashi Thompson to take a 49-21 lead.
Weaver finished with a game-high 15 points and Thompson added 12 as the 2012 Class AAAA state champions improved to 26-5 on the way to the Class AAAAA title game against the winner of the Southwest DeKalb/Forest Park semifinal later at Kennesaw State's Convocation Center.
The state finals will be played at the Centreplex in Macon on Friday, March 8 at 7 p.m.
DeKalb Co. Schools