CULLMAN COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Big 3rd quarter pushes (2) West Point past (3) Fairview 61-41, Lady Warriors advance to title game

West Point’s Mackenzie Carter put up 17 points in the Lady Warriors’ 61-41 win over Fairview Thursday night. (Bill Piper for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – We got another varsity girls semifinal showdown in Thursday’s nightcap from the Cullman County Tournament and the second-seeded West Point Lady Warriors used a huge third quarter scoring run to pull away and defeat Fairview 61-41 and advance to Saturday’s varsity girls title game.

Fairview took a 2-0 lead at the start of the opening quarter but a three-pointer from Lexi Shadix on the other end put the Lady Warriors ahead by one. The Lady Aggies pulled ahead 8-5 around the five-minute mark of the first after a basket from Emma Garcia but a layup from Molly Pendley made it a 1-point game midway through the period. Mackenzie Carter finished off an and-one play at the free throw line to put West Point up 10-8 with just over three minutes remaining but Payton Golden laid one in to tie the game with two minutes to play in the first quarter. Katie Ball found Maddie Yeager beneath the basket for an easy two points late in the quarter but Pendley responded with a bucket on the other end to keep the game knotted at 12 going into the second period.

Another Shadix three-pointer from the right wing gave the Lady Warriors a 16-12 lead early in the second quarter but an easy layup for ball cut the lead to two with just over four minutes to play in the half. Golden buried a three from the left wing to put Fairview in front 17-16 midway through the second but Carter answered with another basket to put West Point back up by one. Carter scored down low to make it 20-17 with just over two minutes remaining in the second but after Pendley hit a jumper to stretch it to 22-17, a three-pointer from Golden trimmed the lead down to two. Micah Oldacre knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Lady Warriors up by six with a minute to play in the half but Daisy Manasco drilled a trey from the top of the key just before the buzzer to cut the lead to 26-23 at the break.  

Back to back Carter baskets extended the lead to 30-23 early in the third but Fairview was able to chip away and a jumper from Yeager made it a 30-27 game midway through the period. Ball scored another basket on a fast break to cut the lead to two with three minutes remaining in the third quarter but an 8-0 run by West Point gave the Lady Warriors a 39-29 lead with just over a minute to play in the quarter. A Miriam Oldacre layup kept the scoring run going for West Point and Shadix drilled another three-pointer from the top of the key just before the buzzer to give the Lady Warriors a 44-29 advantage at the start of the fourth quarter. West Point ended the third quarter on a 13-0 scoring run.

Golden knocked down a three to cut into the lead at the start of the final period but Shadix responded with a bank shot on the other end. Another Pendley bucket made it a 50-32 game and Miriam Oldacre scored again at the rim to maintain the 18-point lead with five minutes to play. Golden dropped in a running floater to cut the lead to 52-36 midway through the fourth but a pair of free throws from Carter made it 56-38 with under three minutes remaining in regulation. Shadix drilled another three from the right wing to put the Lady Warriors up by 23 with less than two minutes to play and West Point held on to defeat the Lady Aggies 61-41 and advance to the finals. West Point outscored Fairview 35-18 in the second half.

Shadix led the way for the Lady Warriors with 18 points in the win, followed closely by Carter with 17. Pendley finished with 12 and Miriam Oldacre added 10. Golden finished with a game-high 24 points for Fairview. Ball added six and Manasco posted five in the loss

(2) West Point will square off against (1) Cold Springs in the varsity girls title game Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

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