Atkinson, Lee Central take Class AA title

Future UNC women's player LaTangela Atkinson has 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Lee Central High School's, and soon-to-be University of North Carolina's, Latangela Atkinson produced a triple-double en route to dominating Columbia High School 76-42 in the South Carolina Class AA girls state championship Saturday at the Carolina Coliseum.

Atkinson effortlessly had 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists the led the Stallions from Lee Central to its second consecutive state championship.

Coach Dorthy Fortune said of Atkinson performance, "That's just her. She does what it takes, and she can just take over a game at anytime."

"She plays the team game and gets her teammates involved. She knows when to take it and when to play in a team aspect."

The future Tar Heel star looked made a number of tremendous passes throughout the game; most of which ended up in team scores and others that were too hot for her teammates to handle. With the first quarter coming to a close and Lee central only leading by five, Atkinson made two spectacular passes and suddenly the lead grew to nine.

The game after that point was never really in doubt, yet Atkinson continued to produced more than her fair share of exciting plays for the packed house that had just witnessed another Carolina star.

The lead grew and grew thanks to Atkinson's court leadership. By half the Stallions were up 41-23, capped by Latangela's 14 points and 4 assists.

In the second half hard times fell on the Columbia High School Capitals as the lead swelled to 60-29. The defensive effort by Atkinson and her teammates shut down anything resembling an offense for the over matched Capitals. Columbia went scoreless for close to eight minutes beginning in the third quarter.

Atkinson seemed to be in cruise control as she by passed on a number of open looks for teammates that were cutting to the basket. On a three on one fast break, Atkinson drew the defender to her and with a flick of the wrist backward hit one of her teammates for an uncontested lay-up.

"I'm the type of player that likes to get my teammates involved," says the humble Atkinson. One notable was in attendance for Atkinson's game, women's head coach Sylvia Hatchell made the trip down from Chapel Hill to see her future star in action.

Coach Hatchell appeared with a huge grin when asked about how Latangela can fit in at North Carolina. The McDonald's All-American has exceptional passing skills and overall skills to thrive at the wing or guard spot. That much becomes obvious to any observer. According to Hatchell, Atkinson has a good chance to filling in some of the holes that will be left by the departure of Carolina's lone senior Nikki Teasley.

Coach Hatchell and the University of North Carolina are getting a player who can score and pass.

Latangela was highly recruited by UNC, Tennessee, University of South Carolina and Clemson before choosing to play in Chapel Hill. Her other finalist was South Carolina.

More photos coming tomorrow from the game

Final Stats
Latangela Atkinson 10-of-21 fg, 1-4 for 3fg, 8-16 from line, 4 off. Boards, 10 def. Boards, 1 Pfoul, 29 points, 10 assists, 8 TO's, 1 Blk, 1 Steal, 29 minutes Team shot 52.6 percent from the field in the game. Columbia shot 21.6 percent from field in the game. High scorer was Angela Hunter who is going to Tenn. Chattanooga with 13 pts.

Inside Carolina Top Stories