Excel, Woodland win; Lady Tigers in region 2nd spot
by David Royal
Jan 11, 2014 | 1147 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Excel won a thriller at home with a freshman pushing the scoring buttons.

Adairsville climbed into second place in its competitive region.

Woodland continued to ride high in its region battle, now sporting a 7-1 record in 5-AAAAA.

All in all, it was a good night for Bartow County girls basketball teams Friday night.

Excel 48, Trion 37

Excel’s fourth-quarter lead had evaporated to five points with under three minutes left when Andrea Taylor, Bekah Bell and Lexie Robinson each scored three points — with Taylor’s coming at the foul line and her teammates at the 3-point line — to help the Lady Eagles win their second game of the season, 48-37, and first region game.

Taylor toed the charity line after she was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer and she buried all three to push the Lady Eagles’ lead to 38-30 from 35-30. It was her last contribution of the night as the team’s ballhandler fouled out just after her charity work.

A minute later Bell found only net on her trey attempt, giving her team a 41-31 lead. Then Robinson dropped her 3-pointer just after Trion had pulled to 41-33 and the home team soared to a 44-33 lead with a minute showing on the clock.

“Those three free throws were huge from Andrea,” head coach Eric Harris said. “She’s been solid for us all year long. She just has a lot of heart. It hurt us when she fouled out but we still got a win.”

Excel was slow to get its offensive engine cranked up on the evening, as the Lady Eagles got their first bucket on a Miriam Hibbard bucket just over three minutes into the contest.

Trion answered to tie the match but the Lady Eagles took a slim lead with a free throw and then stretched the margin to 7-2 off buckets by Bell and Hibbard’s second deuce.

Taylor opened scoring for Excel in the second quarter with a long bucket from the head of the circle that was matched by Trion for a 9-4 score. Robinson made it 11-4 with a 2-pointer. Excel closed the quarter with a 3-pointer by Taylor and Trion closed to 14-6 with two foul shots.

The Lady Eagles were clicking on all cylinders by the third quarter, when Robinson opened action with a quick seven points — a 3-pointer and two 2-pointers — to move to a 21-9 lead. The two teams scored nine points each the rest of the quarter and Excel held a 30-18 lead after three full quarters of play.

Trion scored 19 points in the final quarter while Excel brushed the nets for 18 points.

Harris said Bell, who scored seven points, and Robinson, who scored 20 points, stood tall when they were needed.

“The 3 that Bekah Bell hit also was a big shot for her,” Harris said. “It was nice for us to get a win especially for our two seniors — Bekah Bell and Caroline Moore.”

Harris said Robinson played well and it was a good thing to see.

“It’s her third game back from ACL surgery and her play was huge for us,” he said. “For a ninth grader to play like that, it means there are a lot of good things that will be coming from her through the year.”

The coach said picking up a region win will be huge for the team when it comes to determining cross-region matchups after the regular season ends.

“It was a big win because we and Trion are close and this sort of gives us a leg up on them,” Harris said.

Excel is 2-11 overall, 1-3 in its region.

Woodland 46, Allatoona 37

The Lady Wildcats battled the Lady Buccaneers point for point through three quarters and then turned in a 14-6 performance in the final frame to claim a 46-37 victory.

Woodland also outrebounded Allatoona by 19 boards to help smooth the path to its victory.

“We were able to get some big stops defensively and we executed down the stretch,” head coach Kyle Morgan said.

He noted Woodland had a strong finish in the game’s final quarter. “I was proud of the girls for playing a full game,” he added.

Woodland was a little quicker out of the gate on this night, claiming a 13-11 lead after a quarter of play, but Allatoona outscored the Lady Wildcats 11-8 in the second frame and led 22-21 at halftime.

Woodland surged back into the lead in the third quarter, going up 32-31 after three quarters of play.

Sydney Boyd and Katie Harris led Woodland scorers with 13 points.

Woodland improved to 11-5 overall and is now 7-1 in Region 5-AAAAA.

“It was a total team effort for us,” Morgan said.

He said rebounding was key.

“We were able to outrebound a much bigger opponent,” he added.

The coach said the team must remain focused on improving.

Allatoona dropped to 9-7 overall and 4-3 in its region.

Woodland next plays on Tuesday, when it hosts Paulding County. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.

Adairsville 50, Sonoraville 45

The Lady Tigers handled the pressure Friday night and that enabled Adairsville to take over the No. 2 spot in the region with a 50-45 victory over defending region champ Sonoraville.

Meredith Barnhill, Adairsville head coach, said Sonoraville presents a huge problem with its pressure because of the presence of Carrie Cheeks, its 6-foot, 4-inch star.

“Carrie moves well and because of her size she presents a problem,” Barnhill said. “We executed our defensive game plan. We were able to frustrate her early and she got in foul trouble early and never got into a good rhythm.”

Cheeks still got her points, with 21, but the Lady Tigers took care of business and picked up an important region win.

“I was proud of how we handled their pressure and took care of the basketball,” Barnhill added. “Tonight was a team win like I haven’t seen in a long time. Overall, we executed. We came ready to play.”

The two teams were tied at 12-all after one quarter of play, but Adairsville used a 16-12 run in the second quarter to build a 28-24 lead at the break.

The teams turned in their best defensive performances in the third quarter, when both allowed just seven points and Adairsville took a 35-31 lead.

Adairsville used a 15-14 run to close out the evening.

Mallorie Collum led the Lady Tigers in scoring with 15 points and she also had eight rebounds and two steals.

“Mallorie had her best, complete game of the year,” Barnhill added. “She had a lot of to do with us being able to slow Cheeks some.”

Other Adairsville contributors were Stephanie Kuhrt, 12 points, three steals; Lexie Adams, eight points, four rebounds, two steals; Kelsy Hice, seven points, six rebounds; Victoria Davis, one point, two rebounds and two steals; Julia Roberson, five points, two steals; Paige Cole, two points.

Barnhill noted Cole also grabbed five rebounds. “She’s the shortest kid on the court, at 5-feet, 4 inches.”

Adairsville improved to 6-7 overall and 4-1 in its region.

The Lady Tigers next play today when they visit Model with a 2:30 p.m. tipoff.

Their next region game is Tuesday, when they host Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.