It was as good as advertised between the region rival, top-10 elite programs, and for Rabun County, it was a regular season sweep of Banks County with a thrilling 59-53 win Friday night in Tiger. The #3-ranked Lady Cats (18-1; 9-0 in 8-AA) led for much of the game, but it came down to the final eight minutes and an early fourth quarter spurt to push them over the top.
Banks County (16-4; 6-3 in 8-AA) took a brief lead with a bucket to open the fourth, but Rabun followed with a 10-1 run to go up for good, although the Lady Leopards would close within four a couple of times.
It was Brooke Henricks who led the way for Rabun, which won its 16th straight game going back to December 7. Henricks scored a game-high 19 points. The Lady Cats used a 9-2 run in the first to lead 16-13 at the end of one. Banks County held strong, outscoring Rabun 20-17 in the second quarter, erasing a six-point deficit while taking three leads in the quarter. The game was knotted at 33 going into halftime.
The rivals traded buckets throughout the third quarter, with Rabun taking a slim 44-43 lead into the final eight minutes. That’s when the offensive burst began. After Banks grabbed a quick lead with a bucket to go up 45-44, Rabun used a 10-1 run to gain control for good. Henricks drained a triple, as did Ali Ramey. Henricks added two more driving layups to push it to 57-50.
While the Lady Cats earned the win, it was perhaps more impressive that they played without their senior all-state guard, Georgia Stockton, who didn’t play due to injury. Rabun also survived despite missing 18 free throws in the contest, 13 in the first half. Banks County also had some trouble at the line, leaving 12 points at the charity stripe.
The Lady Leopards were paced by Heather Vaughan’s 10 points, while Jaycie Bowen and Jenna Reeves chipped in with 9 each. Layna Parson added 7 for Banks. Henricks’ 19 was the game-high, while Ramey and Laken Stiles added 8 each, and Hanna Cannon 7. Sophie Woodard also had 6 for the Lady Cats.
The #3-ranked Lady Wildcats (17-1; 8-0 in 8-AA) came in unbeaten in region play and looking to defend the home court. The #6 Lady Leopards (16-3; 6-2 in 8-AA), having lost the last time the teams met in early December,