Photo: Sardis’ Lily Underwood (3) grabs a rebound in front of Southside’s Sydney Yancey during the Lady Panthers’ 42-33 victory in the Etowah County Schools Basketball Tournament girls semifinals on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at Glencoe High School. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
In a tight and physical game against Sardis in the Etowah County Schools Basketball Tournament girls semifinals last Wednesday (Jan. 20), Southside entered the final eight minutes protecting a one-point lead.
That’s when the Lady Panthers finally discovered a few seams in the Sardis defense.
Consecutive 3-point baskets from Sara Kate Yancey and Mallory Brooks in the opening minute of the fourth quarter ignited an 11-2 run that put Southside up by double digits. The Lady Lions managed only three field goals the rest of the way, giving the Lady Panthers a 42-33 win and a berth in the county tournament championship game for the 11th straight year.
Southside will face the winner of Thursday’s Hokes Bluff/Glencoe semifinal in Friday’s title game.
“We were relentless in our pressure,” said Southside head coach Kim Nails. “If you play hard, you overcome a lot of mistakes, and that’s what our girls did tonight. We made a few adjustments, and that helped us take advantage. Sometimes when you have a little run like that, it gives you some momentum and helps you make the next play.”
Sara Kate Yancey paced Southside with 12 points, followed by Sydney Yancey with eight and Lexy Cline with six. Ella Knowlton grabbed five rebounds, while Sydney Yancey cleared four. Jada Lacks scored 10 points for Sardis, while Lily Underwood and Saydi Rutledge each added five.
Sardis held the lead for much of the game, including a 16-13 advantage at halftime. The Lady Panthers kept pace during the third period, however, and Ziniah Hardy’s jump shot with nine seconds left made it 22-21 in favor of Southside. The Lady Panthers outscored Sardis 20 to 12 the rest of the way.
“Sardis is a very good team, and a lot of our mistakes on offense were because of their defense,” said Nails. “It’s always an honor to be in the [county] championship, but no one remembers who comes in second.”