Lithia and North Paulding struggled to score in the opening minutes but the Lady Lions managed to grab an 8-4 lead with three minutes remaining in the first period. The Lady Wolf Pack fought back to take a 9-8 lead a minute later.
Over the final minute, Lithia’s Jones hit a long 2-pointer jumper and two free throws, and Tobreshia Horn connected on a short jumper for a Lady Lion 14-9 lead.
LSHS scored 12 straight points to start the second period, building their lead to 26-9 with three minutes to go before the half. The streak was capped by a Jones layup off a steal and pass from teammate Kiana Mitchell.
The Lady Lion defense continued to be a problem for North Paulding as the second period drew to a close. Lithia managed to break the 30 point mark on a layup by Aliyah Horn with two minutes to go for a 19 point lead. Jones scored the final five points in the period, including a three at the buzzer for a Lithia 35-11 halftime lead. She scored 24 total in the opening half. Emily Maxwell led North Paulding with four points.
Defense ruled most of the third period. The Lady Lions remained in control, taking at 41-13 lead with four minutes to play. The Lady Wolf Pack managed to force some turnovers and out-play Lithia over the final three minutes of the third with most of the Lady Lion bench in the game. North Paulding outscored LSHS 6-4 but the Lady Lions led 45-19 entering the final period.
Lithia wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the fourth period, knocking down a trey for a 48-19 lead. Neither team would score for the next five minutes with North Paulding also playing their backups. The Lady Wolf Pack finally ended the scoring drought with 2:30 to play on a three-pointer to make the score 48-22. North Paulding added a few late points but Lithia would hold on for the 26 point win.
The Lithia boys played just as well as the girls in their victory. The Lions jumped out 24-8 in the first period and went up 38-16 by halftime. They led 61-25 at the end of the third.
“We did a good job of not looking forward to the Alexander game and when you can hold a team to 25 points through three quarters, you are doing pretty good,” said LSHS head coach JW Cantrell. “We were able to get a lot of steals and score in transition.”
Lithia’s offense was balanced all night long, with five players scoring at least seven points.
Johnathan Walker led the attack with 11 points. Bakari Best and Neil Phillips followed with nine each. Beau Carter added eight and Miles Howard scored seven.
In all, 13 of Lithia’s 15 varsity players scored in the game.
“I was very impressed with the bench coming into the game,” Cantrell said.
Lithia will now look forward to a cross-county dual with Alexander tonight.