BHS, THS meet in area finals
BELGREEN – The Belgreen varsity girls basketball team wasted little time securing its spot in the Class 1A, Area 15 Tournament title game as the Lady Bulldogs jumped out to an early 13-2 lead against Phillips.
Belgreen would hold on to win 51-38 and advance to the finals against Tharptown.
The Lady Bulldogs defense stifled the She Bears in the first quarter, allowing only six points – four of which came from the free-throw line.
Belgreen pushed its advantage to 31-14 by halftime and 45-24 heading into the final period.
Phillips outscored the Lady Bulldogs 14-6 during the fourth, but by then Belgreen coach Shauna Humphries had pulled the starters and was giving the bench players ample playing time.
Martha Billingham led the scoring effort for Belgreen with 12 points while Anna DeVaney added eight.
Also scoring for the Lady Bulldogs were Amber Smith (6), Loren McVicker (6), Deborah Billingham (4), Lydia DeVaney (4), Erica Smith (3), Katelin Barber (3), Elizabeth Landers (2) and Kristi O'Dell (1).
It took a while for each team to find its rhythm on offense, but after they did the Tharptown varsity girls basketball team pulled away late for a 61-53 victory against Speake.
With the win, the Lady Wildcats secured their first berth in the sub-regional round in school history and earned a spot in the Class 1A, Area 15 Tournament finals against Belgreen.
The Lady Wildcats trailed early, falling behind 8-5 at the end of the first quarter before rallying to take a 25-20 lead at halftime.
Tharptown continued its hot streak in the third and built a nine-point lead at one time. Speake rallied, however and cut its deficit to three points heading into the final quarter.
The Lady Bobcats hit a 3-pointer and scored another quick basket to take a 40-38 lead less than a minute into the final period.
Moments later, Chelsea McCluskey hit a 3-pointer to give Tharptown a one-point lead. From there the Lady Wildcats went on an 11-6 run to pull away for good.
Speake pulled back within four points, but McCluskey hit five key free throws in the closing minute to ice the victory for the Lady Wildcats.
McCluskey lead Tharptown with 28 points, six rebounds and four steals while Hollie Hines recorded a double-double with 15 points and 22 rebounds.
Also scoring for the Lady Wildcats were Elly Valdez (8), Kendra Baker (6), Heather Hatton (2) and Tosha George (2).