HANCEVILLE, Ala. – A stellar season for the West Point Lady Warriors came to an end Wednesday morning in the Northwest Regional Championship Game. After a hot start in the opening quarter gave them the early lead, the Lady Warriors did not make a shot from the field in the second and weren’t able to keep pace with Madison Academy in the second half, falling 69-54 and finishing the season with a record of 28-6.
West Point Head Coach John Wellborn is proud of the way his team fought against a fast, physical Lady Mustangs squad.
“You just kind of have to pick you poison against them. If you try to stop their big girl inside, you leave their guards free to do whatever they want to do. That’s basically what we did, and you saw that their guards can go,” Wellborn said. “We didn’t get back on defense well enough, one guard scored 21 and the other scored 20. We did pretty good on (Destinee McGhee). She had 11 points and that’s about all we can do against her. Nobody has stopped her all year long but the (Jaden) Langford girl and (Nequoia) Adams are just so quick. They get down the floor fast and they can finish at the rim.”
The Lady Warriors led Madison Academy at the end of the first quarter but were held to just five points in the second, all of which came from the free throw line.
“We battled toe to toe except for the second quarter, the second quarter killed us,” Wellborn said. “We went from being up 18-9 to being down 22-18 and then down 33-23. I think that was the turning point in the game when they got that momentum.”
A three-pointer from Micah Oldacre gave the Lady Warriors an early 3-2 lead but Madison Academy was able to pull ahead 7-5 near the five-minute mark of the first. Lexi Shadix drilled a three to put West Point back in front 8-7 midway through the period and back to back baskets from Shadix and Mackenzie Carter stretched the lead to 12-7. Miriam Oldacre and Carter both completed and-one plays after that to make it an 18-9 game late in the opening quarter. However, the Lady Mustangs were able finish the quarter with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 18-14 at the start of the second.
The run continued for Madison Academy in the second quarter. The Lady Mustangs moved in front 22-18 early in the second and the Lady Warriors were held scoreless for over four minutes of the period until a Shadix free throw trimmed the lead to 24-19. Miriam Oldacre added a free throw to make it 24-20 but another scoring run by Madison Academy put West Point down 30-21. Miriam Oldacre knocked down a pair of free throws in the final second of the half to make it a 33-23 game at the break.
Another Miriam Oladcre score made it 35-25 at the start of the third but the Lady Mustangs created some separation and pulled ahead 42-27. Ryleigh Jones drained a pair from the line to cut the deficit to 13 and Shadix drilled a three to make it 44-32 midway through the period. Shadix then scored back to baskets for the Lady Warriors to trim the lead to 10 with three minutes to play in the third quarter but Madison Academy responded and moved back in front 50-36. Jones laid one in to cut into the lead with just over a minute to play in the quarter and Carter knocked down a jumper just before the buzzer to make it a 51-40 game going into the final frame.
The Lady Mustangs opened the fourth with an 8-0 run to begin to pull away but two more free throws by Shadix trimmed the lead to 59-44 midway through the period. Miriam Oldacre laid one in to make it a 65-47 game with two minutes remaining and Sheridan Bowers drilled a three from the top of the key in the final 30 seconds but it was too little, too late and Madison Academy held on to win it over West Point 69-54.
Shadix led the way for the Lady Warriors offensively with 19 points. Miriam Oldacre finished with 14, Carter posted seven, Micah Oldacre added six, Jones scored five and Bowers added three.
Wellborn is proud of his kids for overcoming adversity throughout their careers at West Point and was happy to see all of his seniors healthy and playing together Wednesday morning.
“We had a good season. We lost some games early and of course Mackenzie (Carter) wasn’t playing early on so we probably lost some games early that I don’t think we would’ve lost, and we would’ve had a better record than what we had,” Wellborn said. “They’ve battled, they’ve been through a lot and I’m glad that all seven of them could play together for this last game with nobody hurt.”
After winning over 100 games as a senior class, capturing back to back county championships and back to back trips to the Northwest Regional, Carter is proud of all she and her teammates have accomplished in their time at West Point and knows they left everything on the floor.
“I’m proud of all the things we accomplished together. At the beginning of the season we didn’t really play as a team because we weren’t all together but then I think near the end we started coming together,” Carter said. “I think there are some things we could’ve done better, there are always things you could’ve done better but I think we played as hard as we could.”
Seniors Mackenzie Carter, Molly Pendley, Emily Wells, Brooke Brownfield, Micah and Miriam Oldacre and Sheridan Bowers will be gone next year but with the foundation they’ve laid firmly in place, the future looks bright for the Lady Warriors.
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