Johnson leads the charge with 31
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
February 16, 2014 04:03 AM | 2626 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lauren Johnson came through with one of the best games of her career, scoring a game-high 31 points to lead Creekview past Pope and into the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
<Br>Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
Lauren Johnson came through with one of the best games of her career, scoring a game-high 31 points to lead Creekview past Pope and into the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
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CANTON — Creekview senior Lauren Johnson lit up the scoreboard for 31 points, including 12 straight in the fourth quarter, as the Lady Grizzlies advanced to the Region 7AAAAA semifinals with a 68-41 victory over Pope on Saturday afternoon at Sequoyah.

Creekview (21-5) advanced to face Osborne in Monday’s 3 p.m. semifinal. With the win, the Lady Grizzlies clinched a return trip into the state playoffs after missing out last season.

After the game, Johnson said she didn’t realize she had put up so many points until being informed by a teammate.

“I honestly didn’t even realize it,” Johnson said, “but I couldn’t have done it without my team.”

Johnson scored 11 points in the first half and added six more in the third before closing out with 14 in the fourth.

She wasn’t the only Lady Grizzly to put up solid numbers. Dee Blankenship finished with 18 points.

Creekview coach Roger Nolan said this was a big win for his team after they were upset by Sprayberry in the opening round of last year’s region tournament. Not only that, but Pope played Creekview to within seven points in a Lady Grizzly win Jan. 28.

“I was concerned,” Nolan said. “The kids did a great job. Lauren Johnson was out-of-sight. She has been lights-out recently and has gotten in the groove after missing about 12 games (with an injury).”

In the teams’ last meeting, Pope’s Kierra Henry put up 21 points. On Saturday, she matched the number, but she wasn’t nearly as dominant on the boards, and he earned eight of her points at the free-throw line.

Creekview jumped to an 18-5 lead in the first quarter, but Pope (12-13) was able to close the gap bit before the half with baskets from Reika Paulk and Henry. Bria Johnson’s three-point play moved Pope to within 30-21 at the half.

In the third, quarter Blankenship and Johnson combined to score 14 of the Lady Grizzlies’ 18 points, as they increased their lead to 13. After Paulk opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer for Pope, her team went silent as Johnson took over with her string of points.

Pope didn’t score another field goal in the game and finished with just six points in the fourth quarter, while Creekview poured in 20.

Paulk and Reika Presley both finished with eight points for Pope.
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