Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
FLORETTE - Emily Dabbs could only watch as her Brewer teammates battled their way to an area championship Monday night.
With Dabbs sitting on the bench just a week after suffering a season-ending knee injury, the seventh-ranked Lady Patriots got two free throws from Chelsey Smith with 6.3 seconds left in overtime to win the area title with a 51-49 win over Hartselle.
Brewer will host Russellville at 7 p.m. tonight in a sub-regional game with the winner advancing to the Northwest Regional tournament in Hanceville next week.
Brewer senior Meagan Hormel led the Lady Patriots with 16 points and 19 rebounds. Morgan Crawley scored 11 in a Dabbs’ spot in the Brewer offense, while Chelsey Smith came off the bench to post a 10-point performance.
Smith hit four free throws in the final minute of overtime to seal the win.
The Lady Patriots, now 26-2 overall, also got two big free throws from Heather Steelman early in overtime, her first free throws of the season.
Hartselle’s Jessi Smith finished with 21 points after hitting eight of 20 shots from the field. Alex Holmes added 16 points for the Lady Tigers.
Hartselle will travel to Decatur tonight for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Lady Red Raiders in a Class 5A sub-regional game.
The two teams were tied at the end of the first quarter and Hartselle held a 22-21 lead at the half.
Brewer led briefly in the third quarter when Crawley hit two free throws. The Lady Patriots didn’t lead in the game again until Hormel hit two free throws and Crawley added another with 3:31 left in regulation.
Still, neither team could post a run to get a comfortable lead down the stretch.
The Lady Patriots went up 41-39 with a minute left on free throws by Britney Kent, but Hartselle answered with a bucket from Heather Speegle that tied the game.
Brewer had a chance to win the game in regulation, but turned the ball over.
The Lady Patriots hit all eight of their free throw attempts in overtime to edge Hartselle at the end of the extra period.
Hormel, Kendra Jones and Crawley were named to the all-tournament team, while Hartselle was represented by Smith and Holmes.
Hartselle 47, Brewer 44
Score round five for the Hartselle Tigers.
Hartselle picked up its second win over rival Brewer Monday night on the road to claim the Class 5A, Area 13 championship and secure a home-date for the sub-regionals Friday night.
The Tigers will host Muscle Shoals at 7 p.m. Friday, while Brewer will face unbeaten Russellville on the road.
In the five meetings between the schools this season, the teams have been seperated by a total of just three points.
Hartselle improved to 19-13 overall with the victory and now gets to avoid second-ranked Russellville in a sub-regional game. The Tigers will take on Muscle Shoals, a team they have faced twice earlier this year with Hartselle winning in the first game of the home-and-home series.
Jeremy Roper led Hartselle with 10 points and seven rebounds. Rodney Stansberry and Alex Brown both added nine points for the Tigers, while Sam Fleischman chipped in eight.
Roper, Manquez Jones and Stansberry were all named to the all-tournament team, while Brewer was represented by Cody Lanford and Chris Dickerson.
Brewer got 11 points from Kohl Sowder, while Josh Adams finished with seven.
Lanford finished with five points in the championship before fouling out. He had 27 points in the tournament.
Hartselle held a slim rebounding advantage over the Patriots, but many of their rebounds ended trips up the floor by Brewer.
Brewer led early, but the Tigers powered in front with a strong run to open the second quarter. Nine straight points helped Hartselle jump in front 18-12 following a 3-pointer from Marquez Jones.
Brewer never led again until getting four straight points from Darrius Campbell and a pair of free throws by Sowder with 3:51 remaining in the game.
Hartselle answered with a 3-pointer from Brown and Manquez Jones hit the second of two foul shots for a 45-42 lead with 52 seconds left.
The Patriots had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but a 3-pointer bounced off the rim.