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Buzzer-beater gives Lady Eagles area title

The A.L. Johnson Lady Eagles defeated the Linden Lady Patriots 60-58 Thursday night to win the AHSAA Class 1A, Area 4 tournament.

The A.L. Johnson Lady Eagles defeated the Linden Lady Patriots 60-58 Thursday night to win the AHSAA Class 1A, Area 4 tournament.

It’s rare in high school basketball for an eighth-grader to be the hero, but that’s exactly what happened Thursday night in A.L. Johnson’s 60-58 win over Linden in the Class 1A, Area 4 girls tournament.

With the Lady Eagles down 58-57, eighth-grader Akayla McGhee caught an inbounds pass on the wing with 2 seconds on the game clock. She threw up a shot that hit nothing but net and was immediately mobbed by fans and teammates on the court.

“I knew it was coming to me, and coach [Danielle Sanders] told me to go to the ball,” McGhee said. “I did that, and I got the ball and threw it up. It went in. I felt like LeBron.”

Linden fans and players, stunned by what had just transpired, watched on in disbelief. The Lady Patriots had led throughout the game until just 2:50 remained in the fourth quarter and ALJ took a 50-49 lead.

The last three minutes of the game saw the teams trading baskets until the final second ticked off the clock. Linden led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter and by 7 in the fourth.

“Our girls never quit,” Sanders said. “I believed in them. I told them they have to have heart and they’ve got to play hard. They did that tonight.”

ALJ’s leading scorer on the night, Tiffany Barber, had been double-teamed by Linden throughout the game, and Sanders said she knew the inbounds pass with two seconds on the clock was going to McGhee.

“When it went up, I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Sanders said. “I’ve been telling her all season long that she’s just an eighth grader but she is going to have to grow up fast. So I’ve been telling her that nobody can stop you, the only person that can stop you is you.”

Despite drawing a double team throughout the game, Barber ended up with 21 points for the Eagles to lead the team. McGhee finished with 17 points, good for second-highest on the team.

Sanders only played six players in the game and told them before they game that they can’t get tired.

“I told them you can’t get tired,” she said. “They love the song by Kevin Gates ‘I Don’t Get Tired.’ You can’t get tired. You can rest tonight after the game.”

Also in double figures for the Eagles was LaRobyn Harris, who ended the game with 12 points. The Lady Eagles saw Barber take home tournament MVP honors for her performance.

Linden’s Tomysha Boykin was the leading scorer in the game with 27 points. Imiya Agee was also in double figures for Linden with 12 points.It’s rare in high school basketball for an eighth-grader to be the hero, but that’s exactly what happened Thursday night in A.L. Johnson’s 60-58 win over Linden in the Class 1A, Area 4 girls tournament.

With the Lady Eagles down 58-57, eighth-grader Akayla McGhee caught an inbounds pass on the wing with 2 seconds on the game clock. She threw up a shot that hit nothing but net and was immediately mobbed by fans and teammates on the court.

“I knew it was coming to me, and coach [Danielle Sanders] told me to go to the ball,” McGhee said. “I did that, and I got the ball and threw it up. It went in. I felt like LeBron.”

Linden fans and players, stunned by what had just transpired, watched on in disbelief. The Lady Patriots had led throughout the game until just 2:50 remained in the fourth quarter and ALJ took a 50-49 lead.

The last three minutes of the game saw the teams trading baskets until the final second ticked off the clock. Linden led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter and by 7 in the fourth.

“Our girls never quit,” Sanders said. “I believed in them. I told them they have to have heart and they’ve got to play hard. They did that tonight.”

ALJ’s leading scorer on the night, Tiffany Barber, had been double-teamed by Linden throughout the game, and Sanders said she knew the inbounds pass with two seconds on the clock was going to McGhee.

“When it went up, I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Sanders said. “I’ve been telling her all season long that she’s just an eighth grader but she is going to have to grow up fast. So I’ve been telling her that nobody can stop you, the only person that can stop you is you.”

Despite drawing a double team throughout the game, Barber ended up with 21 points for the Eagles to lead the team. McGhee finished with 17 points, good for second-highest on the team.

Sanders only played six players in the game and told them before they game that they can’t get tired.

“I told them you can’t get tired,” she said. “They love the song by Kevin Gates ‘I Don’t Get Tired.’ You can’t get tired. You can rest tonight after the game.”

Also in double figures for the Eagles was LaRobyn Harris, who ended the game with 12 points. The Lady Eagles saw Barber take home tournament MVP honors for her performance.

Linden’s Tomysha Boykin was the leading scorer in the game with 27 points. Imiya Agee was also in double figures for Linden with 12 points.