Opp girls fall at regionals

Published 11:48 pm Thursday, February 23, 2012

MOBILE — Montgomery Academy’s press and quickness were too much for the Opp Lady Bobcats on Thursday.

The Lady Eagles (26-4) went on a 7-0 run in the first period to lead 9-2 with about 4:16 left, and went on to beat OHS 64-35 in the Class 3A girls South Regional semifinals at the University of South Alabama’s Mitchell Center in Mobile.

“It was just relentless,” a teary-eyed OHS coach Allison Gregory said about the pressure. “They never let up. It was 32 minutes (of the pressure).

“They wanted it,” she said. “My kids did, too. We just couldn’t get into anything offensively.”

In addition to the offensive woes OHS had, the Lady Bobcats were plagued with turn overs during the contest.

Opp had three more turn overs than what it scored in points in the first half, when it trailed 33-13 at half time. OHS had 30 turn overs in the game.

The Lady Eagles led 28-9 with 6:22 left in the first half on an inside pass from star player Darlene Smith, which resulted in an old-fashioned 3-point play.

Smith led the Lady Eagles with 16 points, and Layne Doctson had 14.

Opp’s Nisha Stoudemire led all Lady Bobcats with 11 points and eight rebounds; and Asia Edwards had eight rebounds. Laiken Free added six points.

Opp’s season ended at the regional tournament, a place the school hasn’t made an appearance since 2004.

“When you come down here on the big stage, you’ve got to learn to win at this level,” Gregory said. “It’s not always about the best team winning, it’s about which team is mentally prepared to do so.”

Montgomery Academy didn’t let up on the pressure at all in the second half when it outscored the Lady Bobcats 31-22.

The Lady Bobcats were 8-of-15 from the free throw line for the game.

Opp’s Ali Jessie looks for an open man during her team’s loss to Montgomery Academy Thursday in Mobile. Andrew Garner/Star-News

“Our game plan was to pressure them early and often, and not allow them to get comfortable in their offensive set, which they do a good job when you allow them to do that,” Lady Eagles coach Glenn Sylvest said. “By doing that, we were able to get a lot of scoring opportunities by our defense.”

Opp finished the season 16-8 overall.