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Tough finish in OT sends Lady Hawks to loss in Area 11 final

By Staff
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
Good Hope girls 47, Danville girls 43 (OT)
Danville's Bethany Evans hit a bankshot with 18 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 38-all and send it into overtime, but Good Hope took over in the extra period and left Danville High School's gym with the girls Area 11 championship Saturday evening.
The game was physical throughout, particularly in overtime where all of the Lady Raiders' points came from the free-throw line. An Alaina Fitzgerald three-pointer with 29 seconds left in overtime brought the Lady Hawks to within 45-43. Bekah Boswell went to the line with 15 seconds left with the chance to tie the game for Danville, but missed both free throws. On the second free throw miss, the teams battled for the rebound and a jumpball was called, with the possession arrow in Danville's favor.
Danville, which was out of time outs, could not make a pass on the inbounds play and was whistled for a five-second violation, with possession returning to Good Hope. The Lady Hawks were forced to foul, and Heather Buchanan hit two free throws to seal the game for the Lady Raiders.
"We had already used our timeout earlier in the overtime because I wanted to make sure our girls knew to foul right away when we got behind," Danville coach Paul Wilson said. "That violation was tough, but the only reason we're talking about it now is because we ended up losing the game."
Kristen Sparkman paced Danville (17-13) with a double-double performance of 14 points and 13 rebounds, on the way to being named to the All-Tournament team along with Evans, Fitzgerald and Lauren Simmons. Evans added 10 points and three steals, Fitzgerald chipped in eight points and Simmons grabbed 11 rebounds.
Wilson also singled out the play of Chelsea Keenum and Nicole Linderman, the two players responsible for defending Good Hope's Buchanan, who was the Lady Raiders' leading scorer in the two regular season games against Danville.
Buchanan was held to seven points, five of those coming from the free-throw line.
"I thought those two did an excellent job defending her," he said. "She was the focus of our defense and we wanted to keep the ball out of her hands, but Good Hope had a bunch of other players step up and make some big plays."
Good Hope was led by 12 points from Jessica Raper and 10 from Breana Posey.
Danville goes on the road for a sub-region game tonight, where they will face Sumiton Christian for the chance to go to the Northwest Regional at Wallace State.
"I told our girls after the game tonight that there are going to be at least 10 to 12 teams who go on the road and win a sub-region game," Wilson said. "I think if we can put this tough loss behind us we can win Thursday night."
Danville girls 55, Vinemont girls 39
Danville's Kristen Sparkman led the way with a double-double performance in the Lady Hawks' opening round area tournament game Feb. 8.
Sparkman finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, as well as three steals and three blocks. Lauren Simmons added 14 points and Bethany Evans finished with 11 points and six assists.
In the other game, Good Hope defeated Hanceville 58-51.

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