One to grow on for Lady Tigers
Coach praises team's determination, glad for experience
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
HANCEVILLE – The Lady Tigers reached the Sweet 16 round of the state playoffs with a young cast as their coach started three sophomores and two freshmen and called Ramsay "by far the best team we have played this year, as far as being both strong inside and outside."
The Ramsay Lady Rams, defending 5A state champions, ended the Hartselle Lady Tigers basketball season Tuesday morning with a 53-39 win at the Northwest Regional.
"We knew that advancing beyond Wallace this year was maybe going to be real difficult," head coach Greg Adams said.
"We felt if we could get the experience of playing in this atmosphere and with graduation affecting some other teams, we think that next year is our year to make a good run."
Adams felt the game was a learning experience for the youthful Lady Tigers.
"We set the goal this year, even before Shan's (Jones) injury, to get here to Wallace," Adams said.
Ramsay jumped out to a 12-5 lead after the opening period and extended the margin to 30-16 at halftime.
"I thought we were a little winded in the first half," Adams said.
"They are so deep it wore on us. We lost two of our top six players to injury just after Christmas and our depth has really taken a very hard hit."
The Lady Rams would extend the lead to 43-23 after three periods.
The Lady Tigers would win the fourth period with a 16-10 run.
"I'm really proud of the effort the girls played with today. And I thought we played as hard or harder in the fourth period than we did in the opening period of play," Adams said.
"We sorta got our second wind in the second half and I thought we played better after halftime."
The Lady Tigers shot better in the second half at 47 percent than in the first half when they shot 36 percent.
Winning coach Robert Mosley praised Hartselle for their hard play and determination.
"We knew we would be in for a tough game," Mosley said.
"They're well coached and they are a very good shooting team. We knew we had to limit them to one shot or we'd be in trouble."
Sophomore Lauren Drake led the Lady Tigers with 15 points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots and one steal, while sophomore Mary Virginia Reeves had 12 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Freshman Anna Reeves added eight points and three rebounds, while freshman Lauren Dye had three points and two rebounds.
Sophomore Kayla Orr scored one point and grabbed two rebounds.
Hartselle led Ramsay on the defensive boards with 17 rebounds to 12 for the Lady Rams. Adams will put his girls back to work Feb. 28 in an effort to achieve that goal.
"I've giving them Wednesday through Friday off," Adams said.
"Then Monday we're going to get back to work and get started on our goal for next year.
"We're not as strong physically right now as we will be in years to come when these girls mature."
The Lady Tigers finished with a 21-9 record, a four-game improvement over 2003-04 when Hartselle posted a 17-11 record. Hartselle has no seniors to lose to graduation. So with all players returning next season, the Lady Tigers will be one of the favorites to return to Wallace and the Northwest Regional.