Chantz Cherry (middle) and a Southwest DeKalb teammate celebrate the state title. (Photo by Mark Brock)
Chantz Cherry threw a long pass over a defender to a streaking Jada Walton and she dribbled out the clock to preserve the thrilling one-point victory and return the state championship trophy to the Lady Panthers for the second time in four seasons.
Southwest DeKalb took a 36-35 lead into the fourth quarter as freshman Raven Thurman hit a pair of baskets to put the Lady Panthers up 36-32 with 48 seconds left in the period.
Winder-Barrow’s Latrice Perkins scored just before the end of the quarter to pull the Lady Bulldogs (26-7) within one heading into the final quarter of play.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa put an offensive rebound back in the basket to give Winder-Barrow a short-lived 39-37 lead.
Thurman struck again for Southwest with an offensive put back and layup on a nice pass from Michaela Bennefield to put the Lady Panthers back up 41-39 with 3:52 to play in the game.
Nelson-Ododa hit one of two free throws with 8.5 seconds left to make it 49-48 and set up the final 5.9 seconds.
The two teams were tied at the half as a late Southwest DeKalb foul sent Latrice Perkins to the line with 1/10th of a second left in the second quarter. Perkins hit 1 of 2 to knot the game at 25-25 headed into the break.
The Lady Panthers shot just 27.5% in the first half and had to rally late in the second quarter as Winder Barrow’s Tiera Mayweather hit a pair of threes that would lead to a 21-15 lead for the Lady Bulldogs with 3:06 left in the half.