By Deunte Marshall
Gaston High senior Morgan Beaird scored 31 points Feb. 9 and became the fourth female basketball player to net 2,000 points in Etowah County history.
Beaird’s milestone helped the Lady Bulldogs post a 77-28 victory over Coosa Christian in the semifinals of the Class 1A, Area 11 basketball tournament at Gaston.
Gaston (15-7) advanced to Saturday’s championship game against Ragland.
Beaird notched her historic score with a three pointer basket at the 6:24 mark in the second quarter.
“This mark was not really something I usually thought about, because I’m so heavily guarded,î said Beaird on the accomplishment ìI’m very proud to be the second person from Gaston to have done this.”
The Lady Bulldogs shot early and often. Tanna Lawson drilled a trey to start off the scoring, sparking a 14-0 Gaston run that included 11 points from Beaird. The senior guard went 3-for-4 from three points range in the first quarter.
Karla Bruce ended the run with a mid-range jumper with 2:07 remaining in the period. A couple of scores from Hannah Meadows and Morgan Luttrell gave the Lady Conquerors a boost, but the visitors were down 17-6 at the end of the initial quarter.
Gaston entered the second frame shooting lights out, starting with Kelsey Smith’s lay-up at 7:25.
The biggest shot of the quarter, of course, came at the 6:30 mark when Beaird scored her 2,000th point on a wide-open three-point attempt.
“Our effort was great tonight and we ran our plays effectively,î said Gaston head coach Tonya Bogle. ìI’m proud and excited for Morgan. She is a great player and she deserved this tonight.”
Gaston went on to score 15 more points during the period to go into the half up 40-12.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the second half with three straight treys, the first by Tanna Lawson in the early seconds of the third quarter, the second by Morgan Beaird at the 5:41 mark and the third by Jana Bogle with 3:27 left.
Three straight steals by Abby Elrod helped Gaston increase its lead to 59-21 at the start of the fourth.
Beaird opened the final quarter with her final three-point basket at 7:39. Hannah Meadows scored six straight points for the Lady Conquerors down the stretch. Meadows led Coosa with 10 points.
“We knew we had to play our best game tonight to be in it,” said Coosa head coach Troy Evetts. “Our girls fought hard and hung in throughout the game.”