Straughn girls win regional championshipPublished 7:54pm Saturday, February 23, 2013
DOTHAN — Getting off to a dominant start and focusing on the task at hand gave Straughn what it’s been looking for since 1996 — another trip to play in the Final 48 in Birmingham.
The Lady Tigers built a 17-5 lead after the first period over Opp, and held on late to beat the Lady Bobcats 48-41 to win the Class 3A South Regional Championship at the Dothan Civic Center today.
SHS coach Scott Kinsaul, emotional from the win, said his team’s hard work and determination granted the school a berth to play in the state semifinals this week.
“It’s a dream,” Kinsaul said about going to state. “It’s something that we’ve worked on starting in the summer going to camp with weights at 7 in the morning, and shooting afterward. I’m so proud of these girls and what they’ve accomplished.”
Kinsaul made sure to give credit where credit was due.
“Opp’s a great team,” he said. “(OHS) Coach (SaRhonda) Dickerson does a great job with them. We’re just so fortunate to beat them, and I’m just so glad we don’t have to play them again.”
With this victory, the Lady Tigers improve to 32-2 overall and advance to play Holly Pond in the state semifinals of the Final Four at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Complex on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
This victory ends a stretch of five games between Straughn and Opp this season. SHS won the series, 5-0.
Straughn leading-scorer Brittany Driver and tournament Most Valuable Player, led the Lady Tigers with 22 points. Katelyn Kinsaul backed her teammate up with 11 points.
Katelyn said she’s excited about going to the state finals.
“We’re ready to go,” she said.
Driver said it’s been a life-long dream for her to be playing in Birmingham.
“We’re really blessed,” Driver said. “Really blessed.”
For Opp, the Lady Bobcats dug themselves in a first-period hole they never seemed to recover from until the second half.
Despite trailing 30-16 at halftime, the Lady Bobcats outscored Straughn 25-18 in the second half, fueled by quick transition on offense from defense.
In the end though, OHS never quit, the Lady Bobcats coach said.
“These girls have a lot of passion and a lot of drive,” Dickerson said. “They fought to the very end. I’m very proud of how they fought back. They stared adversity right in the face and that never hurt us.
“We only scored five in that first quarter, and that really hurt us,” she said. “For them to fight back was really tough.”
Complete coverage of today’s game will be in the Tues., Feb. 26, edition of The Star-News.