Fort Dale girls crush Hooper

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2006

It was business as usual for the Fort Dale Lady Eagles basketball team on Thursday.

The Lady Eagles, who are ranked No. 2 in the final regular-season Alabama Sports Writers Association Alabama Independent School Association poll, rolled through the season unscathed in area play and continued that streak by thumping Hooper, 64-42 in the opening round of the Class AAA West Area 4 Tournament in Greenville.

Fort Dale (22-3) faced rival Monroe Academy for the tournament title Friday, but results were not available by presstime. The win over Hooper also extended the Lady Eagles' winning streak to 16 games.

Fort Dale got off to a fast start in the first half by jumping out to a comfortable 20-7 lead after the first eight minutes before building a 43-23 margin at the half.

&#8220Offensively we played a real good first half,” Lady Eagles coach Reggie Mantooth said. &#8220We didn't do too bad defensively either, but we kinda eased up there in the second half I guess because we had such a big lead.”

Mantooth also cleared his bench early in the second half to let every player get in some playing time. Even with a completely different team on the floor in the third period, Fort Dale kept pace and entered the fourth period with a 52-31 advantage.

Frances Watts led all scorers for Fort Dale with a game-high 21 points, while Maryanne Hancock chipped in 15.

Taylor Dodson led Hooper, which closes its season at 7-13, with 20 points.

With the win Thursday, Fort Dale also earns an automatic berth in the regional tournament that will be played next week at Huntingdon College.