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Lady Bulldogs advance to round of 8

HANCEVILLE – Priceville’s Lady Bulldogs (14-17) sprinted to an early lead, survived a third quarter challenge and went on to knock out the Brooks Lady Lions (13-18) in a Northwest Regional semifinal game at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville Thursday afternoon.

The Lady Bulldogs had the Lady Lions reeling to the tune of a 14-3 lead with 5:14 left in the first quarter. They were in command 36-25 at halftime, but a hard run by the Lady Lions early in the third period temporarily changed the direction of the game. Priceville saw its lead dwindle to a single point at 40-39 with 3:11 left in the third quarter. Fortunately, Jada Beverly was there to pick them back up. She scored seven straight points (a three, a lay-up and two free throws) over the next 1:07 to push her team’s lead to 47-41. The closest the Lady Lions came to tying the game after that was four points at 61-57 with 25 seconds left.

The win landed the Lady Bulldogs in a regional final game against top-ranked Good Hope on Saturday.

“No one thought we’d be here,” said head coach Terrie Nelson who heaped praise on her team in the media interview room after the game.

Her team struggled in the early going, losing eight if its first 10 games. However, most of those losses were against more experienced teams.

“I believe in my players and they believe in me and in each other,” Nelson stated. “That’s what got us where here. I’m so proud and excited about what this group of girls have accomplished.

“I told my girls before the game that rebounding would be a key factor,” Nelson said.

“They got the message and responded beyond my expectations.”

The Lady Bulldogs out-rebounded the Lady Lions 57-40 with Katie Barker pulling down 13. Peyton Parker had seven and Molly Thompson five.

Priceville’s Beverly hit all three 3-point shots she attempted and finished the game with 20 points and Molly Thompson followed with 10 points. Katie Barker had nine points, and Peyton Parker scored seven points and had six assists and four steals.

Brooks was paced by K’Maya Roach with 20 points and Deanna Thompson had 17 points.

The Lady Bulldogs will take on top-ranked Good Hope for the fourth time this season. The Lady Raiders have won all three previous matchups – 82-64 in December, 62-46 in January and 58-43 in on Feb. 11 in the area tournament.

The tip has been set for 3:40 p.m. on Saturday.