Eagles fall to Monore, face Morgan for title
After Friday's loss to Monroe Academy, the Fort Dale Eagles find themselves in a must-win situation this weekend when they play host to Morgan Academy in the final area game of the season.
The Eagles enter into the game with a 3-1 record, as of Tuesday. They played Hooper Academy later that night in Hope Hull.
While the Eagles were trying to tame the Colts, the Monroe Vols traveled to Selma for a meeting with the Senators of Morgan Academy. If Morgan beats Monroe, then that's sets up Friday night's game between Morgan and Fort Dale as the Area Championship.
In the Alabama Independent School Association, the winner of the area gets an automatic bid into the State Tournament's first round held at Faulkner University. All teams will participate in the Area Tournament regardless of their finish in the area. The tournament will be held in Selma and if the Area Champs win the Area Tourney, then the area runners-up will get the bid into the tournament.
Last Friday night, the Fort Dale Eagles, where were 3-0 in the area suffered their first loss of the season.
"We beat them the first time," said Reggie Mantooth, coach of the Fort Dale Eagles. "We played real well but in this game we struggled and lost by one. We didn't' start the game with any intensity and I think that hurt us and caused us to fall behind early. It's a tough loss for us.
That was our first area loss so we are tied for first with Morgan. If we win [Tuesday] and then Morgan wins [Tuesday] that sets up Friday as the area championship."
They also ended an eight-year winning streak against Monroe. The Vols had never beaten Fort Dale at home.
"It was really a defensive battle," said Steve Maxwell, coach of the Monroe Volunteers. "The first time we played them up here one of the Moore kids had 22 points he was their leading scorer. But Friday, he only had three points. We held them down this game. We were able defend them a little better than we did the first time we played them. They held some of our scorers down also, the two that led us usually score more points, it was defense battle and we got out early a little."
In the game, the Eagles jumped out to an early lead of 14-12 at the end of the first period but fell behind 26-23 at the half.
The Eagles remained behind at the conclusion of the third period, 37-34 but battled back in the fourth and with a couple of three pointers cut the lead to four.
Another three cut the lead to one.
"I thought we had a good chance to come back and beat them," said Mantooth. "We wanted to make them play a little faster and force a turnover, but I think they scored a basket to go back up by three."
But, the Volunteers were able to wear down the clock and hang on to the narrow 52-51 victory.
For the Eagles, Chuck Barrett was the leading scorer with 11 points. He was followed by Adam Moore with nine, Mason Bass with seven and Kyle Dorriety with six.
For the Vols, Bonner Williams finished the night with 15 points, Trent Dawson had 11 points. Steven Jay and Will Tucker combined for 15 points in the win.
"It's my first year here," said Maxwell. "But I think it's the first time in eight years that we beat them up there, but it made us happy and didn't make them happy but streaks are made to be broken. I'm sure we're going to meet them again in regional competition and we'll be in the tournament and more than likely we'll catch them again."
The Eagles will be back in action this weekend when they play host to Morgan Academy in what could turn out to be the Area Championship.