Road warriors: Lady Hawks win in sub-region over Sumiton
Staff Reports, Hartselle Enquirer
Led by seniors Lauren Simmons and Bethany Evans, the Danville Lady Hawks moved on to regional competition after knocking off Sumiton Christian on the road 46-41 the evening of Feb. 15. Danville advanced to the Wallace State-Hanceville regional where it will face Sheffield tonight at 6 p.m.
Simmons finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds, leading Danville (18-13) in both categories, while Evans finished with 12 points, seven assists and five steals.
Simmons was especially strong in the first half, where she was 8-of-9 from the field and scored 16 of Danville's 21 first-half points.
"Lauren really stepped up tonight," Danville coach Paul Wilson said. "We knew that Sumiton had no one who could guard her in the post and Bethany and Alaina Fitzgerald both did a great job of getting her the ball."
The Lady Hawks went into the locker room with a 21-16 lead at halftime, despite having to play much of the first half with several starters on the bench due to foul trouble. Wilson singled out the play of his reserves – particularly eighth graders Kayloni Cross, Lacey Evans and Ashley Nance – as providing key minutes while the starters were out.
"Our young girls played very well tonight," he said. "They bring quickness and athleticism to our team."
Danville increased its lead to nine points twice in the third quarter, with the latest coming on a lay-up by Cross to give the Lady Hawks a 30-21 lead. Sumiton Christian battled back and cut the Lady Hawks' lead down to 32-26 heading into the final quarter.
Kristen Sparkman, one of six seniors for Danville, had an especially strong second half after missing most of the first half with foul trouble. She finished with nine rebounds and five points.
"Kristen has turned her game up during the postseason," Wilson said. "She's a big reason we're going to Wallace."
Bethany Evans was the leader for Danville in the fourth quarter, opening the period with a three-pointer and a fast-break lay-up off her own steal to give Danville its largest lead of the night – 37-26. She finished with eight points in the final quarter.
"I can't say enough about Bethany," Wilson said. "She's been a leader for us all year. She played the entire 32 minutes tonight despite getting two fouls in the first quarter; she just took over for us in the fourth quarter."
Sumiton Christian battled but could never get the Lady Hawks' lead below five points as Danville held on for the victory.