PREP BASKETBALL: No. 4 Cold Springs captures area title with 58-49 win over No. 3 Locust Fork

Cold Springs defeated Locust Fork 58-49 to win the 2A, Area 11 Tournament Championship Monday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

BREMEN, Ala. – After defeating Cleveland in the opening round of the 2A, Area 11 Tournament Friday night, Cold Springs was back on the court Monday night to battle Locust Fork for the area championship. The Lady Eagles went into the locker room leading 33-22 at halftime but Locust Fork was able to cut the lead down to one by the end of the third. However, Cold Springs bounced back in the final frame, outscoring the Hornets 18-10 in the final eight minutes to secure a 58-49 win and the area title.

Lady Eagles Head Coach Tammy West was pleased to see her team finish the game strong and secure the area championship, but she’s been even prouder of the way they’ve responded to adversity late in the season and continued to work hard for one another.

“I felt like we got really fatigued in the third quarter and of course Locust Fork made some great plays, they’re a great team. So, I thought in that fourth quarter we kind of got our second wind and we were able to execute some plays and get some stops on defense,” West said. “I’m just so proud of them. They’ve gone through a lot of adversity over the last week and a half losing their teammate, Ella (Dickerson) so we’ve just had to regroup and do a lot of different things. Their hearts hurt for her but we’re so glad that her surgery went well, and I know she’s their number one fan sitting over there. I’m so proud of the girls because they work extremely hard and they’re a special group.”

Ella Bruer knocked down a pair of three-pointers to give Cold Springs an early, 6-4 lead and Ciara Calvert followed with a three of her own to make it 9-4. Malaya Taylor laid one in to stretch the lead to 11-4 and Bruer scored off a turnover in the final minute of the first to put the Lady Eagles in front 13-4 going into the second.

Bruer’s next three-pointer kept Cold Springs ahead 17-4 early in the second quarter and another basket from Taylor made it a 19-8 game later in the period. Calvert scored the next five points for the Lady Eagles to add to the lead and three-pointers by Bruer and Maci Brown put Cold Springs in front 30-18 with two minutes remaining in the half. Bruer drained her fifth three-pointer of the night with less than a minute on the clock to give the Lady Eagles a 33-22 advantage at halftime.

Brown knocked down a three and Taylor scored inside to make it a 38-28 game early in the third but Locust Fork was able to chip away, bringing the lead down to five midway through the period and eventually making it a 1-point by the start of the fourth quarter.

However, Cold Springs responded in the final frame, stretching its lead back out to 46-42 with three-pointers from Brown and Calvert. Baskets by Calvert and Taylor kept the Lady Eagles in front 50-44 midway through the fourth. Taylor and Calvert each split a pair of free throws to make it a 52-44 game with three minutes remaining and Brown sank four straight from the line to extend the lead to 10 with less than a minute to play. Bruer drained her final two free throw attempts of the night to put the finishing touches on a 58-49, area championship win for Cold Springs.

The Lady Eagles will remain home for the Sub-Regional round and will face the runner up of the Area 7 tournament Friday night.

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