GROVETOWN, Ga. --- Thomson High's Natasha Ballard proved her worthiness to the Lady Bulldogs' basketball team by scoring 17 points to lead her team over the Grovetown High Lady Warriors 35-29 on Saturday, Jan. 2.
It marked the first time the two schools have played each other, since this is the first year of existence for the new school in Columbia County.
"We've still got a lot of improving to do," remarked Thomson head coach Michael Williams after the game. "We squandered an 11-point lead in the second half and we shouldn't be doing things like that."
He admitted the game drew a little tighter as a result of his decision to play several players off his second team -- all of whom are sophomores.
"I thought it was good experience to let them learn how to finish a game," Williams said.
The Lady Bulldogs, now 7-6 overall, travel to Sandersville for a big Region 3-AAA showdown against the Washington County Lady Golden Hawks on Friday night. Thomson will play host to Elbert County in a non-region game Saturday.
In last Saturday night's game with Grovetown, Thomson was held scoreless during the first period. Things were much different in the second period, when Ballard ended up scoring 15 of her 17 points.
"I was pleased with her performance," Williams said. "She did a good job for us offensively and defensively."
As a result of Ballard's blistering play in the second, the Lady Bulldogs were able to take a 15-10 lead into the dressing room at halftime. Ballard, a senior, tossed in four, three-point shots the last eight minutes of the first half.
In the third period, Thomson outscored Grovetown 14-8, but during the fourth period, the Lady Warriors stormed back and did Thomson in 11-6.
A host of players aided the Lady Bulldogs to victory, aside from Ballard. They included: Asheleigh Burnett, Shanequa Hudson, Breanna Chatman, Ke'Onda Bradshaw, Kierra Brown, Nekia McNair, Brittany Reid and Sharlette Farmer.
Ballard led the team in scoring with 17 points. Other scorers for Thomson were Farmer, 6, Chatman, 6, Bradshaw, 2 and Reid, 2.