AHSAA GIRLS SUB-REGIONALS: MA, Catholic coast to wins; Carver advances on buzzer-beater
By Tim Gayle
The Montgomery Academy girls knew Monday’s sub-regional matchup with Indian Springs wouldn’t be challenging but it didn’t keep them from challenging themselves.
“We know we can run the fastbreak, but we wanted to work on execution, getting them to see all the options of our offense,” Montgomery Academy coach Barry Fencher said. “One of the options that we don’t really use is feeding the post. That’s what we were working on today.”
In the first six minutes, Indian Springs made just 1-of-6 shots and committed 14 turnovers, so the Eagles’ 25-2 lead took care of the outcome. Lost in the sloppy play and the substitutions that limited the final score to 59-25 was the play of junior center Caroline Kirkham, who had eight points in the first quarter and eight more in the third to finish with 16.
“I think it’s just one of those games where, no matter who we’re playing, you don’t worry about the other team, you worry more about yourself and what you’re doing – what we’re doing on offense, what we’re doing on defense,” Kirkham said.
Montgomery Academy (27-4) will face Greene County, a 51-43 winner over Beulah, in the Central Regionals at Alabama State’s Dunn-Oliver Acadome on Saturday at 6 p.m. Central-Coosa will play Midfield in the other regional semifinal on Saturday at 3 p.m. The two winners will play for the regional championship on Feb. 22 at 12:30 p.m.
Kirkham’s 16 points was a welcome sight to Fencher, who wants to make sure his team has more weapons than Kayla White and Jade Brooks as its sets its sights on a fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament.
“I feel like this year has been the year where I score more,” Kirkham said. “The past two years, I’ve been a defensive player; this year, I’m trying to turn more into an offensive player and in games like this, I’m trying to learn how to get the ball and score.”
Her touches were limited as the game quickly got out of hand. Mary Ren Stevenson had all seven of her points in the first quarter and Carol Ann Walker finished with 10 as the reserves played more than the starters.
“In games like that, you still want to be a class act,” Fencher said. “We knew we could press and get everything we wanted. We saw that early, but got a lot of people playing time.”
And while Monday’s game wasn’t much of a litmus test for what lies ahead, Kirkham said she believes her team is ready to challenge for a state championship.
“We’re an older team,” Kirkham said. “I’ve been around a lot of these girls for three years now, so we kind of know each other better and kind of push ourselves to be the best we can be all the time.”
Catholic girls cruise into South Regional
Catholic used the outside shooting of Jessie Clark and Michaelyn Foster to pull away from Ashford late in the first quarter and cruise to a 62-36 win in a sub-regional game at Catholic High on Monday night.
Catholic will face Monroe County in the South Regionals on Saturday at noon in the Dothan Civic Center. BTW Magnet will play Andalusia in the other regional semifinal on Saturday at 9 a.m. The two winners will play on Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. for the region championship.
And while there was no suspense late, the Knights struggled in the opening moments before Clark and Foster loosened up the Ashford defense with some outside shots.
“That’s the good thing, we’ve got a lot of different people that can score,” Catholic coach Jill Clark said. “So if you take away one or two, we’ve got a couple more that can step up. They’re very unselfish. None of them cares who scores, they just want to keep winning and keep playing together.”
Clark and Foster each had 16 points to lead Catholic (25-3). With the win, the Knights tied Dean Delongchamp’s 1992-93 squad (25-4) for the most wins at the school.
Rudolph’s steal and score lifts Carver
Adasia Rudolph stole an inbounds pass and hit a jumper as time expired to send G.W. Carver to a 50-48 victory over homestanding Northview and the Class 6A South Regional on Monday.
The Wolverines (9-16) rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter and took advantage of 29 Dothan turnovers.
Rudolph led all scorers with 28 points.
Carver will face M.T. Blount in the regional semifinals at 9 a.m. on Friday in Dothan.