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AISA TOURNEY RECAP: Evangel learns lessons on the way to first-ever title

Evangel senior Taylor McNeil scored 25 points to lead the Lions to the AISA Class AA title on Thursday. (Staff Photo)

Staff Reports
(February 13, 2015)

The Evangel Christian girls had plenty of experience against their championship opponent.

One week ago Springwood overcame an 18-point deficit to beat the Lions and eventually move on to win the region title.

In Thursday’s AISA Class AA state championship game, the situation presented itself again. This time, the Lions had it under control.

Evangel built double-digit lead in the first half and never let up in its 53-32 win over Springwood, earning the school’s first-ever state title in girls’ basketball.

“You can learn a lot more from a loss than you can a win and we learned a lot last week,” Evangel coach Mike Creamer said. “You blow an 18-point lead like we did last week and it motivates you. We didn’t forget that feeling and it helped us tonight.”

When Springwood made its move last week, Creamer said his team forgot the game plan and began to fire up 3-point shots. This time, they maintained their advantage inside, feeding the much taller Taylor Jones, who finished with 16 points.

“Springwood has two really good players and we’ve got five good players but we gave up that advantage last time,” Creamer said. “This time, we stayed within our selves, didn’t panic and continued to drive inside and use our size advantage.”

Taylor McNeil scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Lions, who finished 29-3. She was named the tournament MVP.  Tazsa Garrett-Hammett (23-4) led Springwood with 13 points.

Restoration 59, Edgewood 52
Restoration held off a late rally to earn its second-straight state title in Class AA at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex on Thursday.

The Wildcats trailed by double digits for most of the game yet cut the lead to five on three different occasions late in the fourth period.

But Edgewood was unable to get any closer, missing both ends of free throw attempts on two different occasions in the final two minutes.

Demarcus Davis had 18 points for Restoration to lead all scorers. Zach Taylor led the Wildcats (19-2) with 17 points while Josh Crawford had 13.

Lee-Scott girls 45, Autauga 38
Jamey Joseph led a balanced attack with 16 points as Lee-Scott advanced to the state championship game to earn a rematch with AAA defending state champion Glenwood.

The two teams will play each other for the state championship on Friday at 5 p.m.

Raegan Shackleford led Autauga with 18 points, followed by Paige McCord with 14.

Tuscaloosa Academy boys 39, Glenwood 38
The Knights managed to salvage a win after freshman Terry Deboise scooped up a loose ball from teammate Robins Bonner in the lane and sink a 6-foot shot with 27 seconds left to lift the Knights to a one-point victory over the Gators in the Alabama Independent School Association Class AAA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday afternoon.

Tuscaloosa Academy (24-6) will play Bessemer Academy for the state championship on Friday. The Knights will be seeking their 17th boys basketball championship after winning one in 2014.

Glenwood girls 39, Tuscaloosa Academy 28
Twenty-three turnovers, including nine in the fourth quarter, thwarted a Tuscaloosa Academy rally as Glenwood School advanced to the state championship game with a 39-28 win in the Alabama Independent School Association Class AAA state tournament at the Multiplex at Cramton Bowl on Thursday afternoon.

Whitley Anderson, led Glenwood in scoring with 15 points, followed by Perdue with 13. Addison Harrison had 16 of Tuscaloosa’s 28 points and Johnson praised his four seniors, who won 60 games in three years in the program.

Glenwood (26-3) will face Lee-Scott on Friday at 5 p.m. Tuscaloosa Academy ends the season at 20-7.

Bessemer Academy boys 73, Kingwood 57
Ryan Stoves lead all scorers with 26 points to lift Bessemer Academy to the Class AAA semifinal win.

Reggie Mann and E.J. Grant each had 14 points in a losing effort for Kingwood (17-9).

Bessemer (16-2) will face Tuscaloosa Academy on Friday for the state title.

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