Photo: Sardis’ Jayda lacks (right) and Glencoe’s Alli Jo Amos battle for a rebound during the Lady Lions’ 74-38 victory in the Etowah County Schools Tournament championship game on January 20 at Glencoe. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
The Sardis High girls basketball team did not leave Glencoe’s offense much room to operate with on January 20, to say the least.
The eventual result was a 74-68 victory and the Class 5A No. 8 Lady Lions’ second straight Etowah County Schools championship.
Sardis led by double digits for most of the first half and turned it up a notch on defense after intermission, as the Lady Yellow Jackets managed only three field goals over the final 16 minutes.
“[Glencoe] didn’t turn the ball over a lot, but I think we got them tired with our press [defense],” said Sardis head coach Heath Cullom. “We kind of got [Glencoe] dead in the limbs, and that helped us out tremendously. Plus, when we shoot the ball well, we’re hard to beat. We’ve never won back-to-back county titles, so this is special. We also won the girls’ seventh grade, junior high and junior varsity county championships this year. I don’t know if that’s ever been done before.”
Coming out of halftime with a 34-20 lead, Sardis (22-4) opened the third quarter with an 11-4 run that dealt a severe blow to Glencoe’s hopes of a comeback. Caroline Johnson and Jada Lacks each scored six points for Sardis during the period to help make it 51-30 in favor of the Lady Lions.
Meanwhile, senior guard Jaxson Sizemore, who scored her 1,000th career point during the game, accounted for all 10 of Glencoe’s third-quarter points.
“We handled their press pretty well in the first half, but we kind of self-destructed in the second half,” said Glencoe head coach Blake Badgett. “We knew that we’d have a chance if we could keep [the] game’ in the halfcourt, but that little run [by Sardis] took out us pretty quickly.”
Madalynn Amberson’s three-pointer at 4:10 was the Lady Yellow Jackets’ only field goal during the fourth quarter. Johnson finished strong for Sardis, scoring 11 of her team-high 22 points over the final seven minutes. She knocked down four 3-point baskets during the game.
The final time Glencoe (15-6) pulled within single digits was early in the second quarter, when Sizemore’s 3-point basket pulled the Lady Jackets within 24-15. But Sardis finished off the half with a 10-5 run, and Glencoe never again got within striking distance.
Sizemore finished with a game-high 26 points, including a 14-for-15 (93 percent) performance from the free throw line.
“Jaxon’s a warrior who is always going to give her best,” said Badgett. “She and the rest of the girls are a little upset right now, but we’ve got a long way to go this year and we’ve got a lot of things still to play for.”
Lacks scored 16 points for Sardis, followed by Kaelyn Wallace with 10, Sidney Rutledge with nine, Grace Harris with six and Tournament MVP Kytha Edwards with five. Amberson added six points for Glencoe, while Hailey Hanners chipped in four.
“This is definitely something to build on,” said Cullom. “It was a heck of a battle against Southside in the semifinals (that Sardis won, 50-48), and I was kind of worried that we wouldn’t be able to get up for this game. But our girls were up for it, and they played really well.”
Joining Edwards on the All-Tournament team were Johnson, Lacks and Wallace from Sardis; Sizemore, Amberson and Kinslee Gray from Glencoe; Hope Jenkins and Aubrey Hanes from West End; Sarakate Yancey and Madison Shaw from Southside; Kayla Taylor from Hokes Bluff and Miley Beaird from Gaston.