The Mays girls basketball team that started the season 5-7 and spent most of the season outside the top 10 completed the ultimate comeback on Thursday.
Kamiyah Street scored 26 points and the Raiders held on in the closing minutes of a game they led most of the way to beat Harrison 52-51 in the Class AAAAAA championship game at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.
It was the second state title for Mays, which also won Class AAAA in 2003. The Raiders entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed from Region 5 after being upset by New Manchester in the region-tournament semifinals, one of just two losses for Mays in its final 19 games.
Fourth-ranked Harrison (27-6), the No. 2 seed from Region 6, was the third consecutive regular-season region champ to lose in the playoffs to Mays, which beat Winder-Barrow (Region 8) and Lovejoy (Region 4) in the previous two rounds.
“We started the season with 10 players, and I told them that we might not have the most talent but we can be the best team, and they proved it time and time again,” Mays coach Chantay Frost said. “We went to California and went to Tennessee, and we took some real bad losses. I told them to just stick to the plan and we'd get better, and we kind of endured. I told them just follow our lead and we're going to get you there.”
Harrison scored the first five points of the game on a 3-pointer by Sydne Wiggins and a jumper by Audrey Jordan, but Mays answered with a 7-0 run for a lead that held up until late in the third quarter.
Harrison managed to stay close and eventually tied the game 33-33 on a layup by Jordan with 1:48 to play in the third quarter, but Mays responded again with an 8-0 run for its biggest lead of the game at 41-33 on two free throws by Street. The Hoyas got within one point two more times but could never pull even, despite a couple of possessions when they had a shot to tie.
Mays was 5-for-8 from the free-throw line, including 4-for-6 by Street, in the final 55 seconds, and a 3-pointer by Wiggins at the final buzzer cut the final deficit to one point. Street scored 10 of her team’s 15 points in the fourth quarter. She also finished with six rebounds and four assists.
"She's really special,” Frost said of her senior point guard. “She's taken this team on her shoulders. That was her command this year. She's always been that kind of player that 'I can do it, I can do it.' Now she knows that she can do it and the team is on her shoulders as well. She's matured and she's really grown up this year.”
Kendall Pack scored eight points and had nine rebounds for Mays, and Kyra McWhorter had seven points and nine rebounds. Kyra McWhorter made two big 3-pointers in the third quarter as the Raiders were trying to hold off the Hoyas’ comeback. Mays finished with a 40-24 rebounding advantage.
Jordan led Harrison with 13 points and eight rebounds, and Wiggins scored 12 points.
Harrison – 9-6-18-18 – 51
Mays – 11-9-17-15 – 52
Harrison (51): Harper Vick 7, Sydne Wiggins 12, Raicheal Tringali 5, Audrey Jordan 13, Avery Jordan 6, Mae Willis 8, Jazzy Foster 0.
Mays (52): Brandi Heard 2, Kamiyah Street 26, Kyra McWhorter 6, Kendall Pack 8, Sierra Loving 0, Jade Bell 0, Demeesha Wallace 3, Tori Hill 7.