STOCKBRIDGE -- At some point in Saturday night's first-round Class AAAAA state playoff game between Valdosta and Warner Robins, father time had to take a side.
And after one overtime, he favored the third-seeded Lady Wildcats. Valdosta High pulled off a thrilling 65-63 win over the second-seeded Demonettes in the first round of the AAAAA state playoffs in Stockbridge.
Valdosta High was down 31-20 at halftime.
"During overtime, I told them to leave everything on the floor and play 32 minutes of intense basketball, but we didn't count on the extra (time). So I was kind of unsure whether or not they'd have any gas left in their tanks because they had really given me what they for 32 minutes," Valdosta High head coach Deidre Williams said.
"Fortunately for us, we were able to rise to the occasion. It was one of the those games that no one really won, time just ran out."
Valdosta, the third seed from Region 1-AAAAA, improves to 16-11 and plays the Riverdale at 4 p.m. Friday in the AAAAA sectionals in Savannah.
Elise King scorched the nets with 31 points to lead the underclassmen-laden Lady Wildcats, but her last three were probably the biggest of the night, nailing a 3-pointer from the top of the arc nine seconds to go.
"I had confidence that I could make it," King said.
Williams shared King's confidence.
"I had the most fun tonight that I've ever had, because I tell them that I am more of a cheerleader than a coach," Williams said. "I had given here the green light and she was shooting the ball tonight with confidence. She was able to get free, shoot it and the rest as they say is history."
But the drama was far from over, as the Demonettes inbounded the ball and flew down the court, feeding the ball to Central Florida signee Cassie Millner.
Her jumper from midway between the foul line and left side of the three-point arc rimmed out, sparking a jubilant celebration of Lady Cat players and fans.
Valdosta slowly chipped away at the 11-point halftime deficit, shutting down the torrid Warner Robins perimeter game that accounted for eight of its 11 first-half field goals. By contrast, The Demonettes managed no three-pointers in the second half and the overtime.
"We realized that a few of their players were not as big of a threat from the outside," Williams said.
While its defense was up to the task, Valdosta held things up on the other end of the floor as well, clawing back to lead 52-48 with 1:58 left in the fourth. But the game was far from over, as the Demonettes went on a 4-0 run to tie the score with 20 seconds left.
"It's hard sometimes. You use your energy to get back in the hunt," Williams said. "And once you make it back into the hunt you might get lackadaisical again. We're always battling that."
Both clubs had chances to stage a dramatic play to seal the win, only to have the ball taken away as time ran out to send to game to overtime.
Tamara Petersen also had 13 for Valdosta with Drachir Ross' 21 leading Warner Robins.
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