Photo: Glencoe High’s Abby Vice (left) drives to the basket as Pisgah’s Rylie Arnold defends during the Lady Yellow Jackets’ 80-58 loss in the Northeast Regional Tournament’s Class 3A girls championship on Tuesday (Feb. 20) at Jacksonville State. (Gary Wells)
By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
A third quarter scoring drought sank Class 3A, No. 8 Glencoe’s chances of pulling off an upset as the Lady Yellow Jackets fell, 80-58, to No. 2 Pisgah on Tuesday (Feb. 20) in the regional finals at Pete Mathews Coliseum at Jacksonville State.
Glencoe (23-9) trailed by 12 points at the half, and a basket from guard Anna Beth Giles cut the deficit to 41-31 with 7:18 remaining in the third quarter.
But the Lady Eagles responded with an 18-0 run led by junior Auburn University commitment Annie Hughes, who scored 11 of her game-high 21 points in the quarter.
Pisgah (29-1) outscored Glencoe 27-9 in the third and carried a 66-36 lead into the fourth period despite Hughes being in foul trouble.
Glencoe head coach Daniel Cook said Pisgah’s five-guard lineup gave his team matchup problems because the Lady Eagles are so effective in transition.
“We knew going in that they were going to be really, really tough,” Cook said. “We knew it was going to be tough to match up defensively because they basically start five guards. We tried to sag on a couple of players, but their speed and transition in getting the ball up the court made us go small and kind of took away the advantage we had on the offensive end.
“I don’t think we played bad; I just think Pisgah is a really good team. They are No. 2 and state runner-up for a reason.”
Pisgah had relied on its 2-2-1 press for most of the season, but coach Carey Ellison opted to switch to a 1-2-2 to slow down Glencoe’s offense and limit transition opportunities.
“That 1-2-2 tends to slow down the pace,” Ellison said. “We don’t run it often because we like to get it and go. Their half court defense is pretty tough.
“We thought maybe they weren’t quite as prepared for that particular press… Creating intensity off the press was a big turning point. “
Cook said he thought his team handled the 2-2-1 well, but Pisgah capitalized off of Glencoe’s 19 turnovers. Pisgah had a 21-10 scoring advantage off of turnovers and had a 10-2 advantage on fast break points.
“We hit (the 2-2-1) pretty hard, then they went to the 1-2-2 in the first half and we made some mistakes we really haven’t made in the last two months,” Cook said. “They got some turnovers and turned them into points. Especially that No. 10, Annie Hughes. When she was on the court and the ball was in her hands, you were going to concede something. She’s really good. Give her a lot of credit.”
One issue Cook hadn’t anticipated was his team being outrebounded. Glencoe had a size advantage, but Pisgah outrebounded the Lady Jackets by a 44-33 margin. The Lady Eagles also outscored Glencoe 46-28 in the paint.
“There has not been a game this year where we’ve been outrebounded,” he said. “That’s definitely been a strength (for us). Without a doubt, Pisgah outrebounding us was something that really, really hurt us on both ends.”
Hughes had six rebounds and six assists to go along with her 21 points, and was named Tournament MVP. Savannah Mason scored 17 points and Kaylee Vaught tallied 13 as both were named to the All-Tournament team.
Abby Vice led Glencoe with 12 points, while Anna Grace Goodwin scored 10. Anna Beth Giles chipped in nine points and six rebounds, while Kenleigh Harper scored eight. Vice and Giles were named to the All-Tournament team.