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Lady Bulldogs bury Bibb County

MOBILE - Andalusia came to play Friday.

The Lady Bulldogs (21-6) ran out to a big lead early on the way to a lopsided win against the Bibb County Lady Choctaws (14-10) in Class 4A Southwest Regional Playoff action.

The Lady Bulldogs dug a big hole, shoved the Lady Choctaws in and then watched them try to climb out. The Lady Choctaws did not come close to climbing out of the hole falling by a final score of 59-44.

The Lady Bulldogs went on a 22-5 run in the first quarter. Andalusia held Bibb County to just two field goals in the first period.

Apri Kilgore scored more points than the Lady Choctaws did as a team in the first quarter with 8 points. Ashley Johnson also outscored the Bibb County team in the first quarter with 6 points.

The second quarter was more of the same as the Lady Bulldogs could not miss. Well, they didn't miss often.

Andalusia was on top 38-9 at the halftime break after shooting 70 percent from the field making 19-of-27 attempts. The Lady Bulldogs also took care of the ball with just six turnovers.

Bibb County did not shoot the ball well - at all. The Lady Choctaws made 17 percent of their shots in the first half and made matters worse for themselves with 10 turnovers.

The Lady Bulldogs also dominated the boards yanking down 18 rebounds compared to Bibb County's 9.

In the second half, the Bibb County players started making their shots and outscored Andalusia 14-4 in the third period. It was not enough as the Lady Bulldogs coasted to a 59-44 win despite being outscored 21-17 in the final period.

After the game, Andalusia Head Coach Marshall Locke said there is plenty for his players to work on before facing the Demopolis Lady Tigers at 3:40 p.m. today in the Class 4A Southwest Regional Championship Game.

"We started off on fire in the first half," Locke said. "After that, we got cold.

"I'm proud of the win and the girls, but we have to play better," he added.

Locke also said the defensive intensity disappeared in the second half and that is not good.

"The defensive effort was there in the first half," Locke said. "In the second half, we got kind of lax.

"They beat us in the second half. We have to become smarter and handle the ball better," he added. "The first half they were giving us a lot of lay-ups."

Andalusia junior guard Ashley Johnson said the key to the Lady Bulldogs' fast start was showing up ready to play.

"Our coaches always tell us to be mentally ready when we go out on the floor," Johnson said.

She also said the Lady Bulldogs knew it was important to win, but the trip to Mobile was a business trip and they were there to take care of business.

"It was just another game," Johnson said. "I know it was a big one, but it was just another game. We had to come out and play Andalusia basketball."

The Lady Bulldogs' experience was another factor in the win, according to both head coaches.

Andalusia senior Tanesha Wright said previous trips to the playoffs and playing in big tournaments helped the Lady Bulldogs be prepared for the regional.

"I think we knew what to expect," Wright said.

Bibb County Head Coach Charles McCaleb said his team is made up of young players with only one senior, one junior, six sophomores and two freshmen.

"I think we were in awe of this place," McCaleb said. "It was their first time at regionals. We are just happy to be here.

"I think it was just the fact of our immaturity," he said about the slow start. "It was a little bit of both (their pressure defense and our nerves). They did a good job with their pressure defense."

Ashley Johnson was the leading scorer for Andalusia in the win with 23 points. Apri Kilgore added 12 points. Jermecia McNeil and Tanesha Wright scored 8 points each. Ann Huff scored 7 points. April Daniels scored one point.

Rotesha Anderson paced Bibb County with 24 points.

The Lady Bulldogs will face the Demopolis Lady Tigers at 3:40 p.m. today in the Mitchell Center on the campus of the University of South Alabama. Admission is $6.

The Lady Tigers (24-4) earned a spot in the Southwest Regional Championship Game with a 54-38 win against Thomasville (21-8) on Friday. Demopolis held Thomasville to just 18 percent shooting from the field.

Junior forward Gabrielle Essex paced the Lady Tigers with 14 points.