East Side's girls and Woodland's boys were hoping to win their opening game in the 2011 WGS Border War Tournament to assure themselves of two additional contests to start the season.
They achieved that and much more to earn a spot in Saturday's championship games at Woodbury Grammar School.
Woodland's boys came from behind to turn back DeKalb Middle, 29-23, in one semifinal, while West Side turned back Sparta, 29-21, in the other semifinals to set up a county showdown for the championship.
East Side's girls, expected to be a strong contender for the 2012 County Championship, knocked off West Side, 36-24, in its semifinal game and faced DeKalb Middle, a 45-29 winner over Dibrell, in the championship.
"I'm pleased with our team with this start," Woodland boys coach Kendell Smith said. "We were coming off fall break and only had three practices with the entire team so I'm pleased. We just beat a middle school (DeKalb) so that makes a statement for us to start the season."
East Side girls coach Randy Arnold viewed the Border War Tournament as an opportunity for his Eagles.
"For us this tournament was about working on our chemistry and getting better with communication," Arnold said. "Having an opportunity to play more games early in the season gives you opportunities to work on that, along with other things, so winning that first game (against North Elementary) was important because it assured us two more games. I believe the girls are showing signs of good chemistry."
East Side 36
West Side 24
Kelli Davis and Katie Hoskins combined for 29 points and East Side scored a 36-24 win against West Side.
East Side owned a slim 22-19 advantage through three quarters before the Lady Eagles (2-0) used a 14-5 blitz to pull away in the final stanza. Davis led the scoring with 15 points, followed by Hoskins with 14. Davis stepped up big with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of her 15 in the pivotal frame.
"Of course, we wanted to win," Arnold said. "Everyone wants to win, but we really wanted to see improvement and we have. Our rebounding improved from one game to the next. We still need to work on controlling the ball better."
Autumn King led West Side with 12 points, followed by Kelsie Smith with seven.
DeKalb Middle beat Dibrell, 45-29, in the other semifinal. Ashli Chew led DeKalb with 13 points.
DeKalb Middle 23
Bo Bryson and Austin Martin combined for 24 points, including 10 in the decisive fourth quarter, to key the Warriors' 29-23 come-from-behind win against DeKalb Middle.
Bryson and Martin were saddled with foul trouble in the early going and DeKalb took advantage of their absence and was able to take a 15-11 lead into the half.
"When our big guys were in foul trouble other guys came off of the bench and battled," Smith said. "Championship teams do that and our goal is to win the County Championship. It is really good for us to get to play these other teams and face these challenges."
Woodland (2-0) was led by Bryson's 14 and Martin's 10. John Mark Turney added five in the winning effort.
With Bryson and Martin back on the court in the final quarter, Woodland flexed its muscle and battled back to eventually pull away.
"We have only been practicing a few weeks so we wanted to come out and work on playing as a team, not individuals," Bryson said. "We want to get better as a team and winning is just part of that."
West Side 29
West Side jumped out to an early lead and never was threatened by Sparta in semifinal action of the WGS Border War Tournament. Collin Anderson led a balanced West Side scoring attack with nine points, followed by Courtland Ryan with seven. Tristan Choate and Travis Marlow added four each.
West Side led 7-2 after the first quarter and 16-8 at the half. They maintained the advantage throughout the second half.
"We are still improving and working so the tournament is good for us to play and gauge progress in games," West Side coach Roger Haley said.
GIRLS FIRST ROUND
West Side 20
Sydney Eldrod scored 10 points and Autumn King added seven as West Side was able to slip past Sparta 20-13. Ashleigh Anderson (2) and Kelsie Smith (1) also scored for West Side.
DeKalb Middle 53
DeKalb Middle came out strong against a young Woodland team to secure the first-round win. DeKalb Middle was led by Morgan Pedigo's 15 points. Kellie Payne led Woodland with six points. Paige Bowman (3), Leah Hyatt (3) and Madelynne Bogle (2) also contributed for the Lady Warriors.
Woodbury lost a heartbreaker to Dibrell, 42-38, in its opening round game. Emily Sissom scored 23 in a strong effort for the Lady Cubs. Jessica Elmy netted eight and Hannah Haley chipped in six for Woodbury. Dibrell was led by Marley Smith, Emma Holmes and Sianna Womack with 12 each.
East Side 34
North Elem. 31
East Side survived a tough game against North Elementary, 34-31, in its first-round game. The Lady Eagles were led by Kelli Davis' 16 and Katie Hoskins' 10. Kelsey Wilson added six for the winning East Side girls. Mikayla Williams led North with 23.
BOYS FIRST ROUND
Bo Bryson and Austin Martin scored 21 each to power Woodland past Dibrell, 49-34, in first round action. Christian Wilkinson and Austin Melton led Dibrell with 11 each.
West Side 50
North Elem. 21
Colin Anderson poured in 20 points to lead West Side to an opening-round win over North Elementary, 50-21. Courtland Ryan added eight in a balanced scoring attack.
DeKalb Middle 54
East Side 33
Austin Brock and Graden Strang each scored 11 and Kyle Fults added 10 but it wasn't enough as East Side suffered a 54-33 setback against DeKalb Middle. Noah Parsley led DeKalb Middle with 14.
Woodbury received five points each from Peyton Rudisil and Tyler Gilley but the Cubs dropped a 38-23 decision to Sparta.