BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The top-ranked Cold Springs Lady Eagles were back in familiar territory Monday night, squaring off against Lanett in this year’s 2A State Semifinals at Legacy Arena. Points were hard to come by in this one but the Lady Eagles were able to lock things down on the defensive end and pulled away in the final frame to defeat Lanett 44-37 and advance back to the 2A State Finals.
Cold Springs Head Coach Tammy West struggled to contain her excitement on the sideline as the final seconds ticked away and is proud to see her team continue rising to the challenge each time they take the court.
“It’s extremely special, they are just such a unique group of girls,” West said. “They just listen to everything, and they absorb everything. They work so hard to please and they’re just awesome girls.”
Both teams got off to a slow start in the opening period. Malaya Taylor scored inside to give the Lady Eagles an early, 2-0 lead but the Lady Panthers tied things up at 2 later in the first. Maci Brown knocked down a three-pointer to put Cold Springs back in front 5-2 with two minutes remaining in the first but Lanett was able to tie the score at 5 by the start of the second.
Ciara Calvert buried a three early in the second quarter to give the Lady Eagles an 8-5 advantage and they stayed hot from long range. Ella Dickerson and Brown followed with three-pointers of their own to extend the lead to 14-7 with just over three minutes to play in the first half but turnovers from Cold Springs allowed Lanett to cut into the deficit and eventually take a 15-14 lead. Kenady Graves sank a pair of free throws to retake a 16-15 lead for the Lady Eagles woth 30 seconds on the clock but Lanett drained a three just before the halftime buzzer to claim an 18-16 lead at the break.
Brown buried a pair of three-pointers to tie the game at 22 with three minutes remaining in the third and Cold Springs was able to build another lead before the end of the period. Dickerson drilled a pair of threes to give the Lady Eagles a 28-24 lead with 40 seconds on the clock and they went into the fourth quarter leading the Lady Panthers 28-25.
Kenady Graves drilled a three to add to the Cold Springs lead early in the fourth and a pair of baskets by Brown and Ciara Calvert made it a 35-29 game. Dickerson laid one in to make it a 37-39 game and she knocked down another three-pointer on the next Lady Eagles possession to put Cold Springs in front 40-30 with five minutes to play. Lanett made a push in the last two minutes to cut into the lead but Brown netted all four of her free throw attempts in the final minute of the game to secure a 44-37 victory and a 2A State Championship Game appearance for the Lady Eagles.
Brown led the way for Cold Springs with 18 points in the win. Dickerson added 14 points, 11 of which came in the second half, and Graves and Calvert each finished with five points.
The Lady Eagles will be back at Legacy Arena Friday morning at 9 a.m. to face No. 2 Mars Hill in this year’s 2A State Finals.
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