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Lady Wildcats Advance to Final Four

Photographer: Billy Lindahl

Fayette County Lady Tiger head coach John Strickland told The City Menus before the
game that their team would have to play their best game in order to move on. They gave
Villa Rica a run for their money, but in front of a large crowd cheering on their Elite 8
Lady Wildcats, Villa Rica took care of business and took down Fayette County’s Lady
Tigers 61-44 to advance to the Final Four.

The game was back and forth through the first two quarters. Villa Rica and Fayette Co.
both had runs that would make the game interesting. The half ended with a score of 31-
30 Wildcats.  Lady Wildcat coach Tammy Norred commented on the resiliency of her

“When we needed the girls to respond, they did.” Norred said, “Not just one time, but
multiple times. Fayette shot the ball extremely well in the first half.”

The 3rd quarter was a bit sloppy with both teams trading shots that just didn’t want to go
in. The quarter ended with the Wildcats only up by 3. But that’s when the game shifted.
The Wildcats took over the game at this point, scoring 21 points in the 4th to pull away
from the lady Tigers.

“The girls’ focus and intensity,” Norred said, “you could just feel it. They really took care
of business in the 4th quarter.”

A strong performance behind two upperclassmen for Villa Rica really pushed the Lady
Wildcats to the next level. Junior Deasia Merrill poured in 22 points while Senior Jaila
Orozco had 17 points. Norred commended these two players on their games.

“That’s what makes them so difficult to guard,” Coach Norred said. “ They can post up in
the paint, they pull out and shoot the 3. When you have players that are combination
players, it makes them hard to defend.”

Fayette County sophomore center Naomi Franco is 6’3,” and she was a force to be
reckoned with for rebounds on both the offensive and defensive glass. Her head coach
praised her after the game.

“She had a great night. She had a great night inside,” Coach Strickland said. “She
played really well. She got several rebounds. Gave us a chance.”

“It’s like we’re there, but she made us feel like we weren’t there,” Coach Norred told us
about Franco’s rebounding prowess tonight.

Another factor in the game, at least according to the opposing coach, was the large
crowd. Wildcat supporters were loud all night, but the roof really started shaking when
the Lady Wildcats started pulling away in the 4 th Coach Strickland noticed.

“This is a great atmosphere for girls basketball.” Strickland said ‘I don’t know how many
places will have an Elite 8 game with this type of crowd support. They got really good
support. I’m lovin’ it!”

Villa Rica moves on to the Final Four to be played in Macon. Their opponent is 27-3
Buford (who won the State Championship in AAAAA last season). Game time is set for 2:00 p.m. and is available to watch online for the Wildcat supporters not making the trek down to Macon.

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Billy Lindahl
Billy Lindahl grew up in Carrollton and is a huge Sports nerd. So much so he and few other people created the site 1788 Sports covering sports in the state of Georgia. He’s excited to be joining the TCM team. He lives with his wife and son in Bremen, GA.