It was a long day for the River Ridge Knights but a memorable one for the Westlake Lions Friday night in Woodstock. The Lions soundly defeated the Knights 68-30 to advance to the championship game next Friday in Macon.

The game was sold out and filled with 95 percent Knights fans making it a true home-court advantage. As the game started, it turned out to be a huge advantage for the Lions as they jumped out to a 19-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. Lions head coach Hilda Hankerson prepared her team for games like this.

“Playing on the road is not a major thing for us,” said Hankerson. “I convinced my kids every gym is home. We don’t care where we play. When you have that mindset, it doesn’t matter.”

Being at home played no factor for the Knights as they were down 36-13 at halftime with a silent fanbase.

The Knights had no answer for Johnson who went to work in the second half scoring 12 points.

Lions forward Brianna Turnage contributed to the damage in the second half finishing the game with 17 points, four blocks, and making all five of her free throws.

Senior guard Raven Johnson led the Lions in scoring with 22 points in the win. For Johnson specifically, she wanted to come out and play better than her last game.

“With me, I was going through something that game,” said Johnson. “Last game, we weren’t focused and we had a chip on our shoulder and had to take it out on them.”

The Lions Big Three in guards Johnson, Ta’Niya Latson and forward Brianna Turnage combined for 57 points in this game.

Latson finished with 18 points.

The Lions will prepare to play Carrollton for their fourth straight state championship next Friday at the Macon Centreplex beginning at 5 p.m.

Photo: Anfernee Patterson/The Atlanta Voice

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