Lady Bulldogs finish fourth at state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2003

The Andalusia 12-and-under Lady Bulldogs finished fourth in the state tournament this past weekend in Sylacauga. The Bulldogs had to play three games on Saturday in order to make it to the Final Four.

There were 10 district teams representing the entire state at the state tournament. The Bulldogs also started the tournament with two injured players in Jeressa Curry and Shantavia Lawrence. Every team the Lady Bulldogs played had a minimum of 10 players and regularly kept the fresher or rested players on the floor. Due to the injuries, the Lady Bulldogs had six players.

The tournament began on Friday night with the three-point shoot out. Andalusia's Blanche Alverson finished fourth in the competition.

Andalusia Head Coach Art Gilbert had his ladies up awake at 6 a.m. for their first game. The first victim was Childersburg. Alverson knocked down six quick points to put the Bulldogs on track. Childersburg was never close. Andalusia point guard Ebony Heard paced the steady Lady Bulldog attack and kept the Childersburg team guessing. Heard scored nine points and converted three of four free throw attempts. The Bulldogs led 16 at the half.

Alverson and Holley Bass controlled the boards throughout the game. Bass and Jasmine Peacock scored six points and D'Amber Chambers scored four. Morgan Battey contributed with great ball handling. The Bulldogs prevailed 38-12.

The next game started at 2 p.m. against Vestavia. The game with Vestavia was a physical challenge. Alverson received a head blow and it had to be iced down at the halftime break. The Lady Bulldogs had a balanced attach led by Bass with six points. Chambers and Heard had five points each and Battey scored four points. Bass and Chambers stepped up and fought hard for rebounds. Ultimately the Lady Bulldogs prevailed 20- l 7.

With only a game to rest, the Lady Bulldogs returned to the court at 4 p.m. to face Mobile. The Mobile team is also a traveling AAU team and had a 12-player roster.

Alverson hit back-to-back three-pointers to spark the Lady Bulldogs. The Bulldogs, although tired, led 19-18 at the half. Bass, showing great endurance and spirit, led the Bulldogs with 11 points. Alverson and Heard also contributed nine points each. Chambers scored two points and Jasmine Peacock added one point. The lead changed several times; however, the Lady Bulldogs could not hold on as Mobile won 37-32. The Lady Bulldogs advanced to the Final Four and played Monrovia for third place.

Sunday morning, the Lady Bulldogs were ready to play. Monrovia, from the Huntsville area, was also a traveling AAU team and last year's champ. Their roster also was 12 deep.

The Lady Bulldogs led 12-9 at the half. Alverson led Andalusia with 11 points and ended the tournament shooting 75 percent from the foul line.

Bass scored nine points in the third-place game and dominated the boards. Jasmine Peacock scored four points and Heard had one point .

The Lady Bulldogs, however, were behind 18-16 going into the fourth quarter. Bass scored two points and Alverson hit a three-pointer and scored seven points in the fourth quarter to place the Lady Bulldogs in front. The Lady Bulldogs had a 25-21 lead with two minutes left in regulation, but Monrovia had three quick possessions and outscored Andalusia 7-0 in the final two minutes for a 28-25 win.

This girls All-Star team was the first ever to win district and was one of Andalusia's first teams to advance to the state tournament.