CULLMAN COUNTY TOURNAMENT: (3) Fairview smothers (6) Hanceville 51-28 to advance to semifinals

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Fairview’s Molly McKelvy (32) led the Lady Aggies with 17 points in their 51-28 win over Hanceville Tuesday night. (Martha Needham for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Fairview and Hanceville squared off in Tuesday night’s varsity girls showdown with a spot in the semifinal round on the line and after an impressive defensive performance from the Lady Aggies, they’ll be facing the second-seeded West Point Lady Warriors in Thursday night’s semifinal matchup.

A running floater from Payton Golden gave the Lady Aggies an early 4-2 lead and Katie Ball added three points from the left wing to make it 7-2 with just under five minutes to play in the opening period. Ball laid one in at the rim to stretch the lead to 9-2 at the three-minute mark of the first quarter but a Kelly Pickett basket cut the lead to five. Molly McKelvy drilled a three from the left side to make it a 12-4 game but Jessica Thompson responded with a three-pointer of her own to make it 12-7 with under two minutes to play in the period. A three from Zoe Joles trimmed the Fairview lead to two with less than a minute on the clock but after a basket from Daisy Manasco and a three at the buzzer from McKelvy, the Lady Aggies led things 17-10 at the start of the second quarter.

Isabella McGukin scored beneath the basket to give Fairview a 21-10 lead early in the second and another triple from McKelvy made it 24-10 midway through the quarter. A pair of Manasco free throws put the Lady Aggies in front 26-10 with just under two minutes to play in the opening half and McKelvy added two more the line to make it 28-10 with less than 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter. A Cassidy Campbell jumper gave the Lady Bulldogs their first points of the quarter and cut the lead to 16 with 20 seconds remaining but after Golden netted a pair from the line with eight seconds on the clock, Fairview went into halftime with a 30-12 advantage. Hanceville was held to just two points in the second period.

A steal and basket by Manasco gave the Lady Aggies a 20-point lead at the start of the second half but Campbell knocked down a jumper on the other end to make it 32-14. Golden was fouled shooting a three and buried all three of her free throws to stretch the lead to 35-14 and Manasco followed her with a three-pointer from the right corner to make it 38-14 with just over five minutes to play in the third. Another Manasco layup gave Fairview a 28-point lead midway through the quarter but Victoria Stanley drilled a three for Hanceville on the other end to cut the lead to 42-17 with just under three minutes to play in the period. Thompson buried a three from the right corner to make it 42-20 late in the third quarter and the Lady Aggies went into the fourth leading the Lady Bulldogs by 22.

Back to back McKelvy threes from the right wing extended the lead to 48-20 at the start of the fourth quarter but another three-pointer from Joles trimmed the lead back down to 48-24 later in the period. Campbell scored down low to cut the lead to 22 with three minutes to play but the Fairview lead was too much to overcome and the Lady Aggies held on to win it 51-28.

McKelvy led Fairview with 17 points in the win, followed by Manasco with 14, Golden with 11 and Ball with seven. Thompson led the way for Hanceville with nine points. Joles and Campbell each scored six and Stanley added five for the Lady Bulldogs.

The Lady Aggies will take on (2) West Point in the varsity girls semifinals Thursday night at 7:30.

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