By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Etowah High girls head basketball coach Ryan Fore was aware coming into last Tuesday (Jan. 3) that Douglas liked to run and gun.
His team ultimately grounded the Lady Eagles’ flight plan on the way to a 54-44 Class 5A, Area 13 victory in Attalla.
Trailing by four points at halftime, the Lady Blue Devils (4-8, 1-1) steadily battled back in the third quarter. Jaci Mayo’s three-point basket with 43 seconds left gave the hosts their first lead since midway through the first period, and Gabby Williams’ buzzer-beating running jump shot provided Etowah with a 39-36 advantage entering the final eight minutes.
Williams continued her hot hand in the fourth, scoring 10 of her game-high 20 points while going 5-for-6 at the free throw line. A 10-0 run gave the Lady Blue Devils some breathing room, and Douglas never mounted a serious threat over the last few minutes.
“We’re not deep enough and we’re too young to get into an up and down game with a team like that,” said Fore. “So we tried to slow it down and not have [Douglas] speed it up. That’s a team that scored a lot of points, so we thought that if we held them to 50 [points] or less, we’d have a chance.”
J’Mya Watson added nine points for Etowah, followed by Emma Jones with eight and Elizabeth Lopez with seven.
The Lady Eagles led 9-8 after the first quarter. The Lady Blue Devils remained within striking distance, as Williams’ basket midway through the second frame tied the game at 19. Douglas responded with a 9-0 run before a pair of baskets from Watson and Nya McKenzie narrowed the deficit to 30-26 at intermission.
Etowah came out in the second half with half-court pressure defense that led to several points off turnovers. The Lady Eagle offense could not adjust and managed only one field goal in the third quarter.
Kayleigh Rogers scored 20 points for Douglas, while Tabitha Cohns added 12.
“To beat a team as good as Douglas is a big accomplishment,” said Fore. “That’s our third win a row, so hopefully we can keep it going.”