COUNTY TOURNAMENT: Lady Warriors pull away to top Vinemont 52-28 & advance to semifinals

West Point’s Ryleigh Jones (2) posted 17 points in the Lady Warriors’ 52-28 win over Vinemont Monday night. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The West Point Lady Warriors and Vinemont Lady Eagles tipped off varsity girls’ competition at this year’s Cullman County Basketball Tournament Monday night and after a tight first half, the Lady Warriors outscored Vinemont 21-7 in the third quarter to pull away and eventually collect a 52-28 win. With the win, West Point advances to play Thursday night in the varsity girls’ semifinals.

The Lady Warriors got off to a fast start thanks to early baskets by Ryleigh Jones, Liberty Shadix and Hallie Wheeler. Another basket from Shadix stretched the lead to 8-0 before a Maggie Burks bucket got the Lady Eagles on the board. Liberty Shadix and Reagan Robinson traded baskets to make it a 10-4 game midway through the opening period and Raylee Quick laid one in to cut the West Point lead to four. Burks scored inside with less than two minutes to play in the first to trim the lead to 12-8 but Summer Mendoza drilled a three-pointer just before the end of the period to give the Lady Warriors a 15-8 lead going into the second.

Another Robinson basket cut the lead to five early in the second quarter, but Ella Minck laid one in on the other end to make it a 17-10 game. Carley Stephens scored for Vinemont to bring the lead back down to five but later in the period, a Jones basket built the lead back up to seven. Caroline Miller scored for the Lady Eagles to make it a 21-16 game with around two minutes remaining in the half and that score held for the rest of the quarter, making it a 5-point game at the break.

West Point began to create separation in the third quarter with quick baskets from Jones and Liberty Shadix. Burks scored to hold the lead to 25-18 early in the period but that’s when the run began for the Lady Warriors. Thanks in large part to three baskets by Laklin Shadix, West Point put together a 13-0 run and moved ahead of Vinemont 38-18. Burks stopped the run with a three-pointer and Robinson laid one in to trim the lead to 38-23 with less than two minutes to play in the third. Jones got back to back shots to fall for the Lady Warriors on the other end and West Point went into the final frame leading the Lady Eagles 42-23.

Another Mendoza bucket put West Point in front 45-23 early in the fourth quarter but a score from Burks and a free throw by Whitney Quick cut the lead back down to 19. However, the Lady Eagles weren’t able to get much closer than that and a pair of Mendoza baskets in the final two minutes put the cap on a 52-28 win for the Lady Warriors.

Jones led all scorers with 17 points in the win. Mendoza finished with 12 and Laklin Shadix added 10. Burks finished with 11 points for Vinemont in the loss and Robinson posted eight. West Point will face either (3) Fairview or (6) Hanceville in the varsity girls’ semifinals Thursday night at 8 p.m.

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