One and done
Cold shooting sinks Hartselle's chances against defending champion Ramsay
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
BIRMINGHAM – Hartselle shot just 23.3 percent (10-of-43) from the field as the Lady Tigers fell to defending state champion Ramsay 44-31 in the Class 5A semifinals at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena Friday morning.
"We're about a 41-percent shooting team normally," Hartselle coach Greg Adams said. "Today, we defended well; we rebounded well; we just didn't shoot the ball well."
As Adams said, Hartselle matched the three-time state defending champion statistically for the most part. The Lady Tigers out-rebounded Ramsay 36-33; Hartselle held Ramsay to 39.4 percent from the field; but the Lady Tigers just could not get their own shots to fall, although part of that credit goes to Ramsay's defense.
"We knew (Hartselle) would be a good team," Ramsay coach Robert Mosley said. "They shoot the ball well and are disciplined on offense and we knew we'd have to give a good defensive effort.
"But defense is what we pride ourselves on. When you come to Ramsay and play for me, you'd better expect to play defense if you want to see playing time."
Ramsay advanced to win its fourth-straight Class 5A championship, defeating Arab 38-31 in the final game Saturday. Although Arab shot 46 percent in the game, the Lady Knights were held to just 24 field goal attempts (Arab made 11) by the Ramsay defense.
Hartselle's first quarter against Ramsay proved to set the tone for the game. The Lady Tigers were outscored 14-4 in that first period, and did not make a field goal until Lauren Drake hit a short bank-shot as the buzzer sounded. Ramsay's pressure seemed to get the best of Hartselle as the Lady Tigers had nine turnovers in the first quarter, which the Lady Rams converted into six points.
But Hartselle settled down and got some offensive production in the second quarter to trail just 24-13 heading into halftime. Unfortunately for the Lady Tigers, the third quarter proved to be just as anemic offensively as the first quarter. In the third quarter, Hartselle again did not score a field goal until Drake hit a basket with time expiring – at which point Hartselle trailed 33-15.
"We felt pretty good at halftime," Adams said. "I really thought if we could have come out in the second half and get something early we would be in good shape."
An exchange in the third quarter provided a good picture of how Hartselle's day went. Trailing 29-13 with about five minutes left in the quarter, Hartselle's Jessica Andrews took a three-pointer that just rimmed out. The rebound went to Lauren Drake, who missed a short putback that was rebounded by Anna Reeves. Reeves missed a short jumper that was rebounded by Mary Virginia Reeves, who was fouled on the putback attempt. Reeves missed both free throws.
"I thought that was the story of the game right there," Adams said. "We had five or six shots on one possession and couldn't score. You cannot do that against a good team."
Hartselle outscored Ramsay 16-11 in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Rams never allowed Hartselle to cut the lead to less than 12 points.
Drake finished with a double-double performance in the final game of her senior season, scoring 16 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Fellow senior Mary Virginia Reeves finished with six points and 10 rebounds.
Senior Jessica Andrews had six points – both on three-pointers – and junior Jessi Smith had three points to close out the scoring for Hartselle (28-7).
Ramsay had two players finish in double figures – Jamelia Kennedy led the Lady Rams with 19 points and Katherine Graham had 15 points.
Joining Andrews, Drake and Reeves in the final game of their high school careers were seniors Hilary Dukes and Carrie Hames.
"This game is more about just today and about this year," Drake said. "It's about four years in the making for me. We're proud of our season and what we accomplished; we just wish it could have ended a different way than it did."
Adams had kind words to say about his seniors as well.
"The saddest part of this game isn't necessarily just that we lost," he said. "It's also the fact this is the last day I sort of share something in common with this group of seniors. They've been really special and I'm proud I got a chance to coach them."