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Piedmont Academy girls basketball is back in Final Four again
PA Final Four
Piedmont Academy is returning to the Final Four again this season. - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

MONTICELLO, Ga. — The Piedmont Academy Lady Cougars are back in familiar territory once again.

Coach Michael Wilson’s team is making a return to the Final Four for the third consecutive season after defeating Briarwood Academy 55-27 in the GIAA Class AA quarterfinals in Macon last Friday.

It was a decisive win for the Lady Cougars (19-9) who split with the Lady Buccaneers during the regular season.

“We are excited to be back,” Wilson said. “It’s our third straight year making it and I think that speaks volumes for this basketball program, the players and their development. Getting to the Final Four is our goal and playing in the quarterfinals and thinking our season wouldn’t be successful if we didn’t advance made me a little reflective on where this program has come from. So many folks never thought they’d see this and that my goal of having chances to win state championships was a pipe dream. Now everyone’s expectations are for us to make it, from Piedmont fans to schools in the GIAA. It’s a source of pride for me but it also keeps me working, maybe harder than when I started.”

In last Friday’s win against Briarwood, Marissa Holder had 12 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four blocks. Jacie Jenkins added 10 points and seven boards while Kylee Keck contributed 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

“We probably played our best all around game,” Wilson said. “Offensively, we moved without the basketball, shared it and got really good shots as a result. Defensively, we just got after them and really frustrated them.”

Callie Branan limited Briarwood’s top player, Kennedy Mosley, to just nine points. Mosley had averaged 18 points in Piedmont’s three games prior with Briarwood.

“She guarded her one-on-one most of the game and did a remarkable job,” Wilson said.

Teagan Satterfield added to the balanced attack with nine points and four assists.

“Our first group of seniors who made our school’s first Final Four were also sixth graders in my first summer program with the girls,” Wilson said. “I don’t think they can go unnoticed. It’s not just during basketball season where the work is done. It’s really in June and the months before and after the season where time is put in on individual skill development, strength and conditioning. I ask a lot of the girls and their time and I am really excited to see them succeed. I can’t say enough about their commitment. They are busy. Many play softball, have jobs and all nine of my girls who are eligible to be in the National Honor Society are members. The bottom line is these girls know how to work and compete. They do it in everything they do and because of that we are where we are.” 

Up next will be Central Fellowship (16-10) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Mercer University in Macon. The Lady Lancers upset top seed Brentwood in the quarterfinals.

“I was really shocked to see Brentwood lose and I took about five minutes to let that sink in and then focused on Central Fellowship,” Wilsons said. “They are a dangerous team. They’ve got two guards who are fast and who we must contain. We split with them this year, beating them 66-39 in December and then lost in January without Marissa by four.” 

The Lady Cougar coach hopes the previous experience in the state tournament in recent years will be an advantage for his team.

“It’s a really good feeling knowing you’ve been there before because it is a different type of week,” Wilson said. “Practice becomes a little more focused, travel is different and the gym is a big arena now and there are a lot of factors with that.  However, we’ve been through it, we know what to expect and we are going to be ready to play.”

In terms of keys to victory, Wilson broke down his team’s semifinal matchup. 

“We must continue to play defense Wednesday like we have the last month or so since our Brentwood loss,” he said. “We are just playing faster on the defensive side. Central Fellowship may be an 8 seed, but they beat Brentwood and we’ve only beaten them once in a decade so that should get the girls attention and keep them focused. We are going to control what we can control and play hard and in the end that’s all you can do and let the cards fall where they may.” 

The winner will face the survivor of the Southwest Georgia-Citizens Christian semifinal contest. The state championship will be Saturday at Mercer at 4 p.m.