PREP BASKETBALL: Addison topples Winston County 60-45 to capture area championship

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DOUBLE SPRINGS, Ala. – The Addison Lady Bulldogs made the trip to Winston County High School Thursday night to face the Lady Yellow Jackets with an area championship on the line and the Lady Dawgs did not disappoint. Addison knocked off the top-seeded Lady Jackets 60-45 to claim this year’s 2A, Area 13 crown and will be back on their home court the sub regionals next week.

Addison Head Coach Bailey Boland apparently decided that her team’s game plan was to crash the boards and bomb shots from three-point land. The Lady Dawgs have been an up and down three-point shooting team this year, but they have been a fairly good on the boards. However, against the much larger Jackets with their 6’3″ Junior Center, Bella Wakefield, the rebounding aspect promised to be a challenge. Winston County has dominated the Lady Bulldogs in all three meetings on the boards. Well, tonight the Lady Bulldogs said, “This is our night, and we own the glass!”. The Lady Dawgs outrebounded the Lady Jackets 42-32 for the game and seemed to get the majority of the loose balls. The ladies from Addison seemed to generally be a step quicker on the night than the Lady Jackets.

The first period set the tone for the game. Addison came out bombing as Addison Junior “Magic” Molly Gilbreath hit three three-pointers and Junior Gracie “Bug” Manley hit two of her own from deep. Addison led 19-14 at the end of the first period. Gilbreath’s nine led the Dawgs while Manley had six points and four boards. Senior Anna Grace “The Glove” Luker was all over the court and that was just a little foreshadowing of how she was going to play all night. Luker had four points, two boards and two steals in the frame. Winston County was led by Senior Makayla Lindsey who was a dominant force for the Lady Jackets all night. Lindsey had 6 points and three boards. Lady Jackets Junior Olivia Wright and eighth grader Lynleigh Cobb each had a three-pointer. Addison went on a 9-2 run to end the period giving them the 5-point lead to start the second.

The second period was a back-and-forth affair, as each team put up 13 points. Addison went in leading 32-27 over Winston County. Addison continued to rain threes down on the Lady Jackets as “Tiny” Bracie Rodgers had a pair of threes, while Gilbreath notched another one. Addison’s Manley had four boards, while little Rodgers had four of her own. Rodgers is all of 95lbs but gets more rebounds than a young woman her size has any business getting. She gets excellent position and just generally out hustles bigger and taller opponents for the boards. The Lady Jackets weren’t going anywhere and were led by Lindsey’s four points and six rebounds. Eighth-grader Emma Kate Veal, Cobb and Junior Bailey Kelley each had a three for Winston County.

Most of the crowd expected the heavily favored Lady Jackets to settle in and take control of the Lady Bulldogs but the Lady Dawgs had other ideas. They kept their intensity and their trademark woman to woman defense bothered the Jackets all night. The Lady Bulldogs won the period 12-9 to take a surprising 44-36 lead. Every time, the Lady Jackets would make a run, the Lady Dawgs didn’t wilt but continued their mission. After Winston County had closed the gap to 36-34, Addison went on a 6-0 run to end the period and take the 8-point lead into the final period. Addison’s Luker had eight points, while Manley and Gilbreath scored two points apiece. Winston County was led by you know who, Lindsey who had four points and two blocked shots. Cobb had four boards and two points and Veal added a trey.

The fourth period started out slowly for both teams as no one scored almost three minutes had run off the clock. Both teams were showing a little fatigue and the shots were coming up a little short. Then at the 2:20 mark of the fourth period, Addison had gathered a 52-39 lead on the strength of Manley’s four points, along with Gilbreath and Luker nailing a three apiece. Winston County never gave up and scored the next four points, Wright and Cobb both had two points. Addison led 52-43 and the Lady Jackets looked to be gaining momentum. Manley drove the lane and put up two points to stop the mini comeback. After Addison got a defensive stop, WCHS was forced to start fouling the Lady Bulldogs. Miss Rodgers then finished off the Jackets by hitting six out of her final seven free throws to salt the game away, 60-45. Addison improves to 20-9 on the season and will be back home Monday night to host Aliceville in the sub regionals.

Coach Boland was proud of her team for overcoming the adversity to win an area title tonight.

“I am very excited for our ladies winning the area championship. It was a tall task and not a lot of people thought that we could do it, but the girls did. I am so happy for them, they worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get here. Winston County is a great team, but I thought that we had a solid game plan for them tonight and the girls really went out and executed it almost perfectly. We were patient and levelheaded for most of the game and we played smart,” Boland said. “We did the little things tonight and we kept our composure when they made their run at us. I can’t say enough about Coach (Becky) Cobb. She does a wonderful job with her program at Winston County, and they will make some noise in the state tourney.”

Unofficial stats:

Addison was led Luker who had a game high 19 points, six rebounds, two assists and four steals.  She also led the team in scowls on the night. Gilbreath had 17 points, four boards and three assists.  Manley had 12 points, a game high 14 boards and six steals. Rodgers had 12 points, eight boards and four assists. Hadley “Shooter” Butler had seven boards and four assists. Lydia “Barbie” Ergle had four boards. Addison was 8 of 11 at the free throw line.

Winston County was led by Lindsey’s 16 points, 10 boards and two blocked shots. Cobb had eight points and six boards. Kelley had six points and six boards. Veal had six points. Wright had five points and five boards. Wakefield had three points and four boards.

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