Red Bay, Vina advance
By Bart Moss for the FCT
Two Franklin County girls basketball teams advanced in their respective Area tournaments. Both were at the expense of other Franklin County teams.
The Red Bay Tigers advanced by eliminating the Phil Campbell Bobcats 58-34 in 2A, Area 14 action. The Vina Red Devils advanced by eliminating the Tharptown Wildcats 69-51 in 1A, Area 13 play.
Red Bay will host Lamar County in the 2A, Area 14 finals Thursday night at 7 p.m. Vina will play at top-seed Phillips Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The Red Bay Tigers (23-7) got an unexpected first half boost to help propel them to the finals of the 2A, Area 14 basketball tournament. Sophomore Reagan Kuykendall scored ten of her game-high 16 points in the first half. Senior Morgan Pierce sank two of her game-high five three-pointers in the first quarter. Pierce would also hit a three-pointer at the close of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter to put the game away for the Tigers.
“I’m not surprised by Morgan’s play tonight. She’s a veteran of these kind of games,” said Red Bay Coach Donnie Roberts. “But I am really proud of how Reagan stepped up and hit some shots for us tonight.”
Red Bay jumped out to a quick 15-2 lead midway through the first quarter. The Tigers led 15-5 at the end of the quarter. Phil Campbell was able to stop the run due in large part to sophomore Abby Davis. Davis, who had been sidelined for over a week due to a knee injury, came off the bench to provide the Bobcats a much-needed spark. Davis would score 16 of Phil Campbell’s 20 first half points. Phil Campbell cut the Tigers’ lead to six points, 26-20, as Chloe Roberson hit a jumper as time expired in the first half.
Red Bay appeared to be in trouble when UNA signee Darby Madden picked up her fourth foul with 4:46 to go in the third quarter. The Bobcats, trailing 30-22, were not able to capitalize, scoring only four points for the remainder of the quarter. After a three-pointer by Pierce, the Tigers led 42-26 at the end of the third quarter. At the start of the fourth quarter Pierce nailed another three, giving Red Bay a 45-26 lead, after which the Tigers were able to coast to the win.
“I knew I was going to get some open looks tonight because of Phil Campbell’s zone defense,” said Pierce. “I just had to hit my shots. I knew when I made that shot at the start of the fourth quarter the game was in hand.”
Allie Kennedy led Red Bay in scoring with 18 points. Kuykendall followed with 16 points and Pierce with 15 points. Madden added five points, and Carlie Lindley finished with four points.
Abby Davis led Phil Campbell (14-15) with 20 points. Chloe Roberson added eight points, Darby Elliott had four points and Bethany Harris two points.
In the 1A, Area 13 quarterfinals, the Vina Red Devils scored 30 points in the second quarter to help eliminate the Tharptown Wildcats from area competition. The Red Devils would go on to win 69-51, improving their record to 22-8. It was the first Area tournament win for Vina in 15 years.
“It was a total team effort. The girls really wanted the win; now we have to go back to the gym and get ready for Phillips on Wednesday,” said Vina Coach Richie Hester. “I am very proud of this team winning 22 games so far this year.”
Tharptown led Vina 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. The Red Devils exploded for 30 points in second quarter to give Vina a 40-23 halftime lead, essentially putting the game away. The Wildcats outpaced the Red Devils 20-17 in the third quarter to make the score 57-43, but Vina would coast to the win and advance to face top-seed Phillips Wednesday evening.
Abby Hester led Vina with 27 points. Kaitlyn King added 14 points. Sarah Johnson had 13 points. Gracie Raper added 11 points. Emma Humphres had four points.
Tharptown was led by Catie Dawson with 13 points. Brooke Daily followed with 10 points. Aly Vandiver finished with nine points. Anslee Bottoms and Ameliah Dawson scored six points each. Linda Bahena, Klaudia Harris, and Adrianna Borden had two points each. Sierra Robinson finished with one point.