HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Your defending state champion in Class 2A hit the floor at Wallace State’s Tom Drake Coliseum Friday night to compete in the Northwest Regional semifinals and after overcoming a slow start, the Cold Springs Lady Eagles were able to pull away from Tanner as the game progressed and advance to the elite eight. Cold Springs trailed midway through the opening quarter but after taking the lead later in the first, the Lady Eagles never gave it back and went on to win it 54-42.
The Lady Eagles took an early 2-0 lead after Lacey Rice netted a pair of free throws, but Tanner managed to move in front 4-2 midway through the period. Kylon Hamby scored inside to tie the game at four and on Cold Springs’ next possession, she buried a three-pointer from the top of the key to take a 7-5 lead. Brooke Crider drilled one from three-point range to stretch the lead to 10-7 with just over a minute to play in the first and West added a triple of her own to make it 13-7. West drove to the basket and scored again in the final seconds of the opening period and Cold Springs took a 15-9 advantage into the second.
Crider knocked down another trey to make it an 18-12 game early in the second quarter and she added a pair of free throws to keep the Lady Eagles in front 20-14 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half. Elizabeth Hill laid one in through a foul and hit the free throw give Cold Springs a 23-14 lead and two more Crider free throws made it 26-14 with less than three minutes to play in the period. Neely Ellison knocked down two from the charity stripe to maintain a 28-17 lead for the Lady Eagles late in the second before Hill and Crider each scored another basket and three-pointer respectively to make it a 33-21 game at the break.
An Ellison bucket kept Cold Springs in front 35-23 at the start of the third and another score by Hamby made it 37-24 with just over minutes in the quarter. Ellison drilled a three from the right wing to extend the lead to 40-25 midway through the period and Hamby pulled down an offensive board and put it back to make it 42-29 with under two minutes on the clock. Emi Harbison scored inside to add to the lead with a minute remaining in the third quarter but a three by Tanner in the final seconds of the period trimmed the lead to 44-35 at the start of the fourth.
Rice knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Lady Eagles a 46-37 lead at the start of the final period and another West bucket made it 48-37 with six minutes to play in the game. After Cold Springs was able to kill a lot of time dribbling around and away from Lady Rattler defenders, West added two more free throws to extend the lead to 50-39 with three minutes on the clock. Hill laid one in to make it 52-39 game with less than two minutes remaining and after she buried a pair of shots from the free throw line to stretch the lead to 15 with a minute to play, the Lady Eagles cruised to a 54-42 win.
Crider led Cold Springs with 13 points in the win, followed by West with 10 and Hill and Hamby each posted nine. Ellison added seven, Rice finished with four and Harbison scored two for the Lady Eagles.
Cold Springs will face Hatton in the Northwest Regional finals Tuesday at 4 p.m. with a spot at the State Tournament in Birmingham up for grabs.
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