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The Winchester Rising Stars sixth-grade girls basketball team has reached the Amateur Athletic Union national championship game following an overtime win in Thursday's semifinal round.
The Rising Stars, coached by Sherando girls basketball coach Kevin Reed and Tammi Green, knocked off the Georgia Heat, 42-41, to reach today's championship.
The Rising Stars will take on Indiana's Hoosier Elite-Roth in today's championship game in Franklin, Tenn.
In pool play, the Rising Stars posted a perfect 3-0 record by knocking off the Louisville (Ky.) Jaguars (53-37), the Boston Showstoppers (50-48) and the Tennessee Team Pride-Bowman (47-36) to reach the semifinals.
Against the Georgia Heat, Haile McDonald scored the go-ahead basket in overtime, then Megan Hicks chipped in a layup on the next possession to put Winchester up by four. The Heat promptly nailed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds, but the Georgia squad could get no closer.
Reed said McDonald "took the game over" in the overtime period, and had high praise for the strong defensive efforts of Hicks and Makaela Kestner.