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Chelsea's Allie Miller (12) in a Class 6A, Area 8 game between Helena and Chelsea on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at Chelsea High School in Chelsea, Alabama.
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Photo by Todd Lester
Spain Park Basketball
Spain Park's Bailey Bowers (3) in the season-opening game against Midfield.
The Chelsea High School girls basketball team fell victim to a big Helena run early in the fourth quarter and fell, 60-51, in the final of the Class 6A, Area 8 tournament, hosted by top seed Helena, on Friday night.
The first half was tight throughout, with neither team gaining a significant edge. Chelsea held a 10-9 lead after a quarter of action, but Helena took slight control in the second quarter. The Lady Huskies opened up a 22-16 advantage before the Lady Hornets closed the gap to 25-22 at the half.
Chelsea was able to regain the lead midway through the third quarter, but it was Helena who held the one-point edge heading into the final quarter. But Helena scored the first seven points of the final quarter and used a 19-4 run to open up the game. The Lady Hornets cut the final margin to single digits, but were unable to threaten in the final moments.
"We played really good defense the first half and the third quarter, and the girls came out and did a really good job of doing the little things right," said Chelsea head coach Lori Weber. "Helena got hot in the fourth quarter."
Michaella Edwards led Chelsea with 27 points on 7-of-16 shooting, while hauling in 17 rebounds. Hope Richard chipped in 10 points of her own. Suzanne Ridgway scored six points to go along with seven boards. Point guard Allie Miller had six assists.
Both teams had already secured spots in the Class 6A sub-regional round, to be played at 7 p.m. Monday. With the win, Helena will host Paul Bryant, while Chelsea will travel to play No. 6 Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa. The winners will advance to the Central Regional in Montgomery later in the week.
"We've got to figure out a way to score and make sure we don't quit on ourselves," Weber said of the keys against Hillcrest. "We've got to find a way to win."
With the Lady Hornets qualifying for the postseason, Weber thinks her team has the belief to compete with anyone.
"They know they can win now," she said. "They are looking at it like it's our next game in the books. We're going to go out and play hard."
Lady Jags fall behind early
The Spain Park High School girls basketball team got off to a slow start and never gained any traction in a 56-41 loss to Huffman on Friday night in the final of the Class 7A, Area 6 tournament, hosted by top seed Spain Park.
“They were more physical,” said Spain Park head coach Mike Chase. “They just drove the ball at us. They got offensive rebounds and putbacks. They did a nice job of defending us.”
Huffman got out of the gates strong, holding a 14-7 lead after a quarter of play. On the scoreboard, the second quarter was nearly a repeat of the first, as the Lady Vikings outplayed the Lady Jags once again and held a 28-15 edge at halftime.
Spain Park scored the first few points of the second half, but Huffman quickly regained the momentum and took a 43-25 lead after the third quarter, holding on for the 15-point victory.
Claire Holt led Spain Park with 24 points.
“They looked like a team that played in the Final Four last year,” Chase of the Lady Vikings, who advanced to the 6A state semifinals in 2016.
Both teams were already qualified for the Class 7A Northeast Regional prior to the game, but now know their matchups at Jacksonville State University.
Huffman will play Area 7 runner-up Grissom at 9 a.m. on Thursday, with Spain Park playing Area 7 champ Gadsden City at noon. The winners of those two games will return to Jacksonville State on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 9 a.m. with a spot in the Final Four on the line.
Spain Park has faced Gadsden City twice this season, splitting a pair of games with the Titans. The Lady Jags notched a 55-46 victory on Dec. 1, while Gadsden City won the matchup, 53-44, on Jan. 30.
After rolling through area play with a perfect 6-0 mark, the Lady Jags snuck by No. 4 seed Mountain Brook before losing to Huffman. Chase cited the team’s ability to seize early momentum in a game as a key factor in the Lady Jags’ success, something that they have not been able to grab in the past two games.
“We’re going to rack our brains, look at film and try to figure out if there’s something we can do,” Chase said. “The kids have to take hold of this too.”