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Caitlynn Mills takes control of the ball for Phil Campbell. Mills tallied 18 points for the Bobcats in their win versus Mars Hill.

Double overtime: Phil Campbell beats Mars Hill at Lauderdale invitational

The fourth-ranked team in Class 2A, the Phil Campbell Bobcats, had to go to two overtimes to advance to the second round of the Lauderdale County Invitational Tournament last week. The Bobcats defeated the Mars Hill Panthers 67-61.

The Lauderdale County tournament has the reputation of running the gauntlet, as far as girls basketball is concerned. It is one of the toughest tournaments in the state; there are no easy wins. If the Phil Campbell Bobcats want to make another run at a state title, this time in Class 3A, then this was the tournament where they would get their first early test.

Phil Campbell advanced to play Susan Moore, which is ranked just ahead of the Bobcats in Class 3A.

“This is why we get in this tournament,” said Phil Campbell coach Craig Thomas. “This is the best place to test your team before we hit the second half of the season and the area tournament. You have to bring your A-game every time.”

While the Bobcats might not have played their best game against the Panthers, they were still able to escape with the win and advance. “We made too many turnovers and too many mistakes today,” explained Thomas. “We were lucky to get out of there with a win. This is like the tournament run to state – survive and advance.”

Phil Campbell had to survive with the top player on the bench for much of the game in foul trouble. Senior Abby Davis picked up her third foul early in the third quarter and spend much of the third and fourth quarter on the bench. Davis eventually fouled out in the first overtime.

“Mars Hill did a lot of double-teaming today, and it caused us some problems and got us into foul trouble,” said Thomas.

Junior Kallie Allen shouldered the load in overtime, scoring 10 points, including going 6-for-8 from the free throw line.

Phil Campbell led for much of the game. The Bobcats jumped out to a 12-9 first quarter lead and led by six points at halftime, 30-24. Mars Hill started a comeback in the third quarter, however, outscoring Phil Campbell 14-10 to cut the Bobcats’ lead to two points, 40-38, entering the fourth quarter.

Allen led the Bobcats with 22 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. Caitlynn Mills followed with 18 points and five steals. Kaci Harris added nine points. Davis scored seven points and had four assists and five steals. Mackenzie Scott had six points. Katie Thomas finished the game with five points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

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