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Two steps from the Final Four

By Staff
Todd Thompson, Sports Editor
The Northwest Regional tournament will be filled with contenders and pretenders as teams try to earn a spot in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Final Four tournament.
Three local schools would like to consider themselves contenders this week.
Hartselle’s girls are making their fourth straight appearance in the regional tournament and have a senior-dominated lineup that could be a key to reaching Birmingham for the Class 5A finals.
The Lady Tigers’ senior class has reached the regionals each year since they began playing basketball for Hartselle and that should give them a clear advantage as far as experience is concerned.
Many teams struggle when they reach the regionals, especially adapting to larger arenas compared to typical high school gyms. That hasn’t been a problem for Hartselle.
The Lady Tigers beat Pleasant Grove 55-42 and Wenonah 47-35 to reach the state finals at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center last year.
In a bracket opposite Hartselle will be Ricky Allen’s Brewer Lady Patriots, a team that has posted an impressive 27-2 record.
The Lady Patriots, who lost to Wenonah in the opening round of the regionals last year, could earn another meeting with rival Hartselle if they can beat Mortimer Jordan in the regional semifinals.
Brewer has been one of the top teams in the state this season, even after losing standout Emily Dabbs to a knee injury in the final regular season game several weeks ago.
To overcome the loss of the potent scorer, the Lady Patriots have gotten added production from Megan Hormel, Morgan Crawley, Kendra Jones and several others recently.
Jones had a career-high 28 points in the Lady Patriots’ sub-regional win over Russellville last week.
The Class 5A regional final could very well come down to a rematch between Hartselle and Brewer for a spot in the Final Four.
Danville’s stay in the regionals last year was short after losing to eventual state champion Sheffield by 25 points.
The Lady Hawks have a young, but talented lineup this year with several freshmen stepping up into key supporting roles this season.
Elkmont was a surprise winner in the sub-regionals, but should provide a tough test for the Lady Hawks.
Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or by email at todd.thompson@hartselleenquirer.com

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