By Chris McCarthy/Editor
For the first time in five years, the Gadsden City High girls basketball team will hit the road for the subregional round.
Hampered by early turnovers and off-target shooting, the No. 9 Lady Titans fell to Clay-Chalkville, 61-49, in the Class 6A, Area 9 Tournament championship on Monday (Feb. 10) at GCHS.
Gadsden City (19-4) travels to sixth-ranked Lee-Huntsville (22-8) on Thursday in the subregional round.
Except for a brief period in the first quarter, the Lady Titans trailed the entire game. A 12-4 run midway through the third period brought the hosts within 38-30, but the Lady Cougars (25-6) answered with a 14-3 spurt that put Gadsden City in a 52-33 hole entering the fourth quarter.
The Lady Titans closed within 61-47 with 2:25 remaining, but never got within single digits down the stretch.
Gadsden City committed 12 first half turnovers, miscues that the Lady Titans never quite recovered from.
“We’re normally the ones way up in the turnover margin, and our outside shooting was non-existent,” said GCHS head coach Jeremy Brooks. “We just don’t turn the ball over very much, and tonight we did. [Clay-Chalkville] came out hot shooting, but a lot of their open looks came from us making mental mistakes. We normally score in the 60s, and except for Dajia [Williams], we never really got clicking on offense. We struggled shooting probably as bad as we have all year, but part of that was Clay-Chalkville’s defense; they really got into it.”
Williams was the only GCHS player to score in double digits with 23 points. Haley Troup added eight points, followed by Taylor Tucker with seven and Brooke Burns and TK Blount with five each.
Raven Omar scored eight of her 12 points in the first quarter to help the visitors take a 15-10 lead.
Burns’ traditional three-point play at 5:47 of the second period drew Gadsden City within 19-15, but Clay-Chalkville closed out the first half with a 16-3 run for a 34-18 lead at intermission.
The Lady Titans came out of halftime with their best stretch of the night. With her teammates getting her the ball in the paint, Williams scored eight points in the third quarter to help narrow the gap to 41-31 at the 3:05 mark.
That was as close as Gadsden City would get the rest of the way, as three 3-point baskets from Bria Bethea helped push Clay’s advantage to 19 points after 24 minutes.
Bethea led the Lady Cougars with 23 points, while Kristian Hudson added 20.
Williams and Blount were named to the all-tournament team.
“This is the fourth time this season that we’ve played [Clay-Chalkville], and any time you play anyone four times, it can be a gritty game like this one,” said Brooks. “When that happens you’ve just got to do the little things to win, and we didn’t do that tonight.”