Headed back to Hanceville
No. 5 Wenonah upsets No. 2 Russellville 67-60; Dragons disqualified for ineligible player
HANCEVILLE – Eighth-grade center Sierra Sales was the difference maker as unranked Tanner upset No. 5 Red Bay 51-36 in the Northwest Regional tournament.
Tanner previously beat Red Bay (23-9) in the Northwest Alabama Christmas tournament at Lauderdale County in December, and the Lady Ratters won again Wednesday by using a patient, half-court offense and a stingy defense built around Sales, who finished with a game-high 21 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and three steals and clogged up the lane on both ends of the floor.
The 5-10 Sales left little room for Red Bay's star post players, seniors Chelsey McWilliams and Brittany Scott, to operate in the Lady Tigers' motion offense, which depends on the duo's turnaround shots, short jumpers and layups for a bulk of their scoring.
McWilliams and Scott, the team's leading scorers this season, each played less than 30 minutes due to foul trouble and combined for 6-of-17 shooting from the field. McWilliams finished with a team-high 16 points, including 10 in the second half, while Scott had six points on 6-of-7 shooting from the free throw line and a team-high five rebounds.
Britan Bolding, who knocked down two of Red Bay's three 3-pointers, also finished with six points, while Kirsten Sharp came off the bench in the final quarter to score four points and two steals in only seven minutes. Senior point guard Jessica Johnston and junior wing Morgan Duncan each added four points.
Tanner, which outrebounded Red Bay 35-21, led by eight points at halftime but the Lady Tigers mounted a comeback with a 7-0 run to open the third quarter. Scott and Duncan went 5-of-6 from the line and McWilliams sank a turnaround jumper to cut Tanner's lead to 25-24 withi 3:30 remaining in the quarter.
Sales responded with the Lady Rattlers' first points of the quarter with a layup and Shakira Lovett scored to push their lead to 29-24. After a driving layup by McWilliams, Red Bay trailed by only three points entering the final period.
In the fourth quarter Sales scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and Jessica Urias also scored to put Tanner ahead 36-26 with 6:28 remaining in the game. Red Bay couldn't cut the lead down from double digits for the remainder of the quarter as Tanner put the game away with 10-2 run.