Coach Dale Beason’s Lady Bulldogs captured their third straight area crown and sixth in the past eight years defeating Susan Moore and Glencoe in the Class 3A, Area 10 Tournament.
With a win over Walter Wellborn Thursday at home, Ashville will advance to the Northeast Regionals at Pete Mathews Coliseum on the campus of JSU.
Ashville is currently ranked ninth in the state and has a record of 23-5.
Ashville 41, Susan Moore 31
With 3:26 remaining in the contest, Ashville’s lead over Susan Moore was 34-30. Seconds later, the Lady Bulldogs committed a turnover giving Susan Moore the chance to draw closer. But the Ashville defense held its own and held Susan Moore to just one free throw over the last three minutes and went on to a hard-fought 41-31 victory.
Susan Moore jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead before Bianca Bothwell hit a free throw to make it 5-1 three minutes into the game.
Halfway through the first quarter, Ashville’s Jenny Howard scored the first bucket to make it 7-3.
With 1:30 remaining in the opening stanza, Ashville tied the game at 9-9 on a jumper by Destiny Montgomery. With 22 seconds remaining in the first, Ashville took its first lead at 11-9 and it was a lead they would not let go of.
By halftime, Ashville enjoyed a 22-16 lead.
With two minutes left in the third quarter, Ashville led 28-21 but Susan Moore scored the final 4 points of the quarter to close the gap to 28-25.
Thirty seconds into the fourth quarter, Howard got a steal and threw the ball ahead to Montgomery for a bucket to make it 30-25.
A trey by the visitors made it 30-28 with 6:39 left in the game.
That’s when Bothwell and Howard went to work for the Lady Bulldogs. Bothwell hit back-to-back shots for Ashville to open up a 34-28 lead.
Howard then used her quickness to come up with two steals, the first one where she scored on a lay-up to make it 36-30.
With 28 seconds remaining in the game, Jacie Tipton drilled home a 3-pointer that meant lights out for Susan Moore. Her try made it 39-31 and the Lady Bulldogs went on to win 41-31.
Bothwell led Ashville with 12 points followed by the 9 points scored by Tipton. Howard added 6 points while Autumn Swearengin and Montgomery had 4 points each. Lakeivia Looney, Courtney Elders and Kristen O’Barr had 2 points each.
Ashville 62, Glencoe 33
As tough as the Susan Moore game was, the Ashville girls did not want to go through that again. So they decided to go ahead and dispose of Glencoe early.
The Lady Bulldogs were like shot out of a canon to start the game as they opened up a 21-9 first quarter lead and went on to beat Glencoe 62-33.
The second quarter was more impressive as Ashville outscored Glencoe 21-7. On five consecutive trips down the court, Ashville made its shots and 3 of them were from beyond the arc.
With 4 seconds remaining in the first half, Tipton nailed a 3-pointer that sent the crowd into a frenzy and it gave the Lady Bulldogs a 42-16 lead.
The second half was methodical with the Lady Bulldogs outscoring Glencoe 20-17 and winning the game with ease 62-33.
Bothwell led Ashville with 19 points. Tipton’s 5 treys gave her 15 points for the game. Ebonie Brooks chipped in 11 points while Looney and Montgomery added 8 points each. O’Barr had 1 point.
Beason said that is as good as he has seen the girls play all season on both ends of the court.
“It was fun to sit back and watch them play,” Beason said. “They got after it. They were motivated to win the area title.”
Thursday’s home game against Wellborn tips off at 7 p.m.
Contact Gary Hanner at email@example.com.