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Believe in Brewer

By Staff
Lady Patriots relish underdog role, defeat Hartselle 63-58 in Area 13 final
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
The Lady Patriots knew they would be considered the underdog coming into the Area 13 championship game against No. 3 Hartselle at the Pettey Center Monday evening.
And that was just fine with them.
"We knew we were going to still have to prove ourselves to people," said Brewer senior guard Andrea Crawford, who led the Lady Patriots with 30 points. "Even though we beat Hartselle in the county tournament, we knew we'd be the underdog in this one."
It will be hard for the Lady Patriots to be disrespected now, as Brewer defeated Hartselle 63-58 in front of a standing-room-only crowd. It was the 12th straight win for a Lady Patriots team that started the year unranked but crept into the final rankings at No. 9 in Class 5A.
Brewer will host Muscle Shoals tonight in a sub-region game and Hartselle will go on the road to face No. 4 Athens, a team the Lady Tigers beat twice during the regular season.
Brewer controlled the game early, helping take the Hartselle crowd out of the game somewhat by pushing out to a 14-5 lead after the first quarter.
"You can't put a price on that," Brewer coach Ricky Allen said of his team wanting to get out to a fast start. "Any time you go to an opponent's gym, especially with the stakes this high, you've got to do something to take the crowd out of it a little."
Brewer again held a nine-point lead at halftime (30-21), but Hartselle opened the third quarter with a flurry and cut that lead down to 39-34 heading into the final quarter.
The Lady Tigers went to work in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of hot shooting by guard Jessi Smith, who hit three three-pointers within the first two minutes.
Smith's third three-pointer gave Hartselle a 45-44 lead with 6:35 left, but the Lady Patriots had an answer. That answer was Crawford, who was fouled on a made three-pointer. She hit the extra free throw to complete the four-point play and give Brewer the lead back; a lead it would not relinquish.
"When we got behind, everyone on our team knew we were going to try to get the ball to (Crawford)," Allen said.
Brewer was able to help limit Hartselle's offense by putting post player Lauren Drake in foul trouble. Drake picked up her fourth foul late in the third quarter and fouled out with 1:42 left in the game.
"We're not a very good ball team when Lauren Drake isn't on the floor for many minutes," Hartselle coach Greg Adams said. "We're a team that needs to go inside, and if you look at our numbers we had more three-pointers than we had two-pointers. That means we weren't playing well."
Brewer (22-7) had foul trouble of its own, with post player Courtney Scott picking up her fourth foul with 1:11 left in the third quarter. But the Lady Patriots got strong minutes from reserve Michelle Tillman, who finished with 11 rebounds.
"Michelle is an unheralded senior," Allen said. "She's going to work hard no matter what the situation is. She may make a mistake but it's going to be because she's trying as hard as she can try."
Jessica Andrews led Hartselle (25-6) with 15 points. Jessi Smith added 14 and Drake finished with 12.
Semifinal games:
Brewer girls 75,
West Point girls 38
The ninth-ranked Lady Patriots led by just 10 points at halftime before pouring it on late to coast to a victory in the Area 13 tournament semifinal Feb. 8 at the Pettey Center.
Brewer had three players score in double digits. Leading the Lady Patriots (21-7) was Andrea Crawford, with 21 points. Emily Dabbs added 14 points, seven assists and four steals and Courtney Scott had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Meagan Hormel grabbed seven rebounds and Crawford and Genie Browning each had four assists.
Hartselle girls 62, Cullman girls 37
The Lady Tigers started each half with a strong run as they opened the Area 13 tournament with a win.
Hartselle opened the game with a 12-0 lead, and then went on a 13-0 run at the start of the third quarter after leading 29-15 at halftime.
Mary Virginia Reeves led Hartselle (25-5) with 18 points and seven rebounds. Jessi Smith had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists and Lauren Drake finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Heather Speegle added five rebounds.
Cullman was led by Andrea Mason's 22 points.

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