Lady Panthers hold off Etowah in area tilt

Southside High’s Hunter Ashcraft (left) goes up for layup as Etowah’s Aimee Fancher defends during the Lady Panthers’ 47-39 Class 5A, Area 13 victory on Tuesday (Jan. 7) at SHS. Southside High’s Hunter Ashcraft (left) goes up for layup as Etowah’s Aimee Fancher defends during the Lady Panthers’ 47-39 Class 5A, Area 13 victory on Tuesday (Jan. 7) at SHS.

By Chris McCarthy/Editor

A big third quarter run helped Southside post a 47-39 victory over Class 5A, Area 13 rival Etowah in girls basketball on Tuesday (Jan. 7) at SHS.

Coming out of halftime trailing 17-12, the Lady Panthers shut out the visitors in the third quarter while scoring 20 straight points to take a 32-17 lead.

The Attalla squad soon shook off its shooting woes, however, as a 21-4 run in the final period trimmed the Southside advantage to seven points with 1:46 left in the game.

The hosts seemed to have the game in hand after Baylee Gilchrist’s basket pushed the Lady Panther lead to 38-20 midway though the fourth quarter.

But the Lady Blue Devils (8-4) responded with four 3-point baskets on their next four possessions, including two treys from junior forward Maelin Trammell.

Gabby Williams’ layup with 1:09 left drew Etowah within 42-36, but by that time Southside was in the bonus free throw situation. 

The Lady Panthers got the job done at the foul line, as Lindsey Hindsman and Blakely Alfred combined to shoot 9-for-10 to secure the win.

Hindsman finished with 17 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 at the charity stripe. 

Mallary Smith added eight points, followed by Madison Bolton with seven and Gilchrist with six.

Jessi Colvin grabbed 10 rebounds, followed by Bolton and Kaylee Howell with six each. 

Hunter Ashcraft had four steals.

“We usually have a quarter that we always have a run, and tonight it was [in the third quarter],” said Southside head coach Kim Nails. “We just told our girls that [Etowah] would probably make a run and to stay focused and keep communicating. We’ve struggled all year offensively, but we’ve tried not to let that affect our defense. I think we kept that as our focus in the first quarter when we went through a drought. We were just trying to slow down the game and make [Etowah] play at our pace.” 

Maelin Trammell paced the Lady Blue Devils with 11 points, followed by Williams and Kaelin Trammell with nine each.

Southside shot 88 percent (15-for-17) at the free throw line. Etowah visited the foul line just seven times, making one shot. 

“You can’t win ballgames when you’re a defensive-minded team and you make one free throw for the entire game,” said Etowah head coach Ryan Fore. “We weren’t able to use our biggest strength to our advantage, which is our pressure defense. We couldn’t get to loose balls, and [Southside] was getting the long rebounds off their shots and getting easy baskets on the other end. They hit their shots tonight and we didn’t, at all.” 

The Lady Panthers led 6-4 after one quarter and 10-6 midway though the second frame, but nine straight points from Maelin Trammell helped Etowah take a 17-12 lead into halftime.

Southside came out firing in the third period, as Morgan Harris’ 3-pointer at 7:15 and Smith’s bucket with 10 seconds started and finished a 20-0 run.

“Anytime you can hit your free throws late in close game, you give yourself a chance to win,” said Nails. “This is one of the best group of kids that I’ve ever coached, and I’m very proud of their effort.”  

 
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