By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Hampered by early turnovers, poor shooting and foul trouble, the Gadsden City High girls basketball team came up short to Shades Valley, 55-35, in the semifinals of the Class 6A Northeast Regional Tournament on Tuesday (Feb. 18) at Jacksonville State.
“It seems like starting off, what could go wrong, did,” said GCHS head coach Jeremy Brooks. “In order for us to win this game, we had to keep it close early. They applied good pressure but we missed some easy shots. We really didn’t attack them enough in the first [half], and when we got behind early, we had to do some things that we really didn’t want to do.”
The Lady Titans (20-5) fell behind by double digits early on. Six GCHS turnovers helped the Lady Mounties build a 16-4 advantage after one quarter.
“When we were down 12 to 2, it wasn’t our defense that was the problem,” said Brooks. “[Holding Shades Valley] to just 12 points at that point in the game was pretty good. We just couldn’t score. When [the score] stayed like that, they made us come out and play man-to-man [defense], which opened up the floor for them to penetrate and drive.”
Gadsden City managed just three baskets during the first six minutes of the quarter. Shades Valley also had only three field goals but went 4-for-6 from the free throw line to go into halftime ahead 29-13.
Gadsden City did not visit the foul line in the first half.
“If they’re going to be physical on defense and play man-to-man and be aggressive, then you have to attack them to draw the foul and get to the free throw line,” said Brooks. “You’re not going to get those calls if you keep going east to west. The defense they played is what won the game.”
Senior center Dajia Williams was the only GCHS players in double figures with 10 points. She also had 13 rebounds and three blocks.
Haley Troup scored nine points, while Brooke Burns had seven.
Morgan Williams led Shades Valley with 14 points, followed by Katelyn Thomas with 11.
The Lady Titans outscored Shades Valley 12 to 10 in the third quarter, but by that time Dajia Williams and forward TK Blount both were called for their fourth foul, limiting Gadsden City’s inside game.
The Lady Titans managed only two field goals in the fourth quarter, the final basket coming with just under six minutes left in the game. Blount and Williams each fouled out of the game shortly thereafter.
“It was very physical,” said Dajia Williams. “I was getting banged up in every way.”
“Everybody played hard,” added freshman point guard Brooke Burns. “It just wasn’t there for us today.”
Meanwhile, the Lady Mounties went 10-for-12 at the foul line during the final eight minutes to seal the win.
The Lady Titans (20-5) shot 28.3 percent (13-for-46) from the field and 15.4 percent (2-for-13) from three-point range.
Shades Valley held a 40-30 edge in rebounding, including a 12-7 edge on the offensive end. The Lady Mounties also had the advantage in points in paint (24 to 16), points off turnovers (16 to 6), second-chance points (8 to 4), fast break points (10 to 2) and points off the bench (11 to 1).
Dajia Williams made the all-tournament team.
“I really felt that we’d have a chance if we could hold them to 50 or 55 points,” said Brooks. “It was a combinations of factors, like a domino effect. They only outscored us by four points in the second half, so that shows that our kids continued to play hard. But [Shades Valley] has been one of the top two or three teams in the state the past few years, and they should have a good chance this year to possibly go all the way.”