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Cass girls upset 8th-ranked Villa Rica to reach Region 7AAAAA finals

Photo courtesy The Cass Lady Colonels basketball team had lost twice during the regular season to 8th-ranked Villa Rica. The margins in those two losses were 24 and 38 points, but at tournament time you can toss the regular season results out the window and Cass proved it Thursday night.

Playing the Region 7AAAAA Tournament semifinals on the Lady Wildcats' home court, the Lady Colonels pulled off a 74-69 upset to advance to the region championship game Friday against 4th-ranked Carrollton.

The Region Championship game will be at Villa Rica at 7pm.

Carrollton (26-1) defeated Kell 55-38 in Thursday night's other girls semifinal game.

Cass had previously lost by 24 and 38 points to VR earlier in the season. VR is ranked 8th in 5A.

The Lady Colonels trailed 13-12 after one quarter, but led 31-30 at halftime in the back-and-forth battle. Cass took a 44-40 lead into the final period of regulation, but Villa Rica sent the game to overtime at 65-all.

Cass outscored the Lady Wildcats 9-4 in the four-minute overtime period for the victory.

Jana Morning scored 29 points to lead three Lady Colonels in double figures. Esmeralda Thomas scored 20 and Kyla Michienzi 17. Payton Stoddard chipped in with five points and Lyric Curtis added three, but it was Curtis' defensive effort that drew praise from her coaching staff.

"Lyric Curtis was the defensive player of the game," noted Cass head coach Burt Jackson. "No doubt, she made the difference."

Cass (20-6) had already clinched a berth in the Class AAAAA state tournament, but the semifinal win Thursday night secured the right to host the first round of the state tournament Friday, February 17.

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