Tough loss to bear

Published 12:04 am Friday, February 8, 2013

Andalusia’s Tylesha Malcolm reacts shortly before the Lady Bulldogs’ 34-30 loss to Monroe County Thursday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia girls fall 34-30 in area semifinals

EVERGREEN — Andalusia’s Lady Bulldogs made sure they left everything on the court Thursday night after suffering a close 34-30 loss to Monroe County in the semifinals of the Class 4A, Area 2 tournament.

From the start, the Lady Bulldogs took control of the game, leading 7-4 after the first period and 18-10 at halftime.

MCHS narrowed its gap early in the third period andt he Lady Tigers led 27-24 going into the fourth.

Andalusia mounted a nice come back after falling 32-26 in the fourth to put the game back to 32-30 with 47.1 left in the game.

The Lady Tigers made the back-ends of two free throw opportunities to get the victory and the right to play in the area championship at Hillcrest-Evergreen High School on Saturday night.

A tearful AHS coach Teresa Herring said the first half went exactly to script.

“Even into the second half, it went how we wanted it to go,” Herring said. “We made them come out and play us.

“We needed some players to step up that didn’t get the job done tonight,” she said. “I hate to say that and I don’t want to sound bad — it’s a heavy load to bear.

“Now that it’s on them, it hurts,” she said. “You could tell they left it all out on the floor.”

The Lady Bulldogs ended their season with seven wins.

Andalusia’s Tylesha Malcolm grabbed a steal and layup to go to cut Monroe County’s lead to three at 29-26 with more than four minutes left.

MCHS wasn’t showing much on defense other than a zone scheme, which if open, would allow Andalusia a lane to drive through to the basket.

Malcolm later got a putback to put the game at 32-28 with 1:18 left in the game.

Right at the 47.1 mark, Andalusia’s Alexis Lawrence got a 3-ball play, but missed the extra shot to keep it a two-point game.

The Lady Tigers spent their last time out with 41.8 seconds left.

With the ball and more than 30 seconds to go, the Lady Bulldogs found Lawrence on the inside, but the ball skipped off her shoe for a turnover.

AHS called a timeout with 15.6 seconds left after Crook missed her first free throw. After she made the second to put the game at 33-30, Andalusia tried to call another timeout at half court to set up a three-point play, but the referees didn’t hear Herring.

“We were trying to get the ball to half court to try and call a timeout,” the Andalusia coach said. “The timeout didn’t get called.

“I was expecting the leaders on the floor to realize we need a timeout or to say hey, we need to get a three-point shot out of this,” she said. ”It didn’t happen.”

In the first period, MCHS got on board first with a jumper by Sheaira Morris.

Andalusia’s Kanisha Johnson found Shandricka Thompkins for an easy bucket to tie the game early.

Lawrence later found Thompkins to put the game at 4-4, Johnson made the back-end of a pair of free shots and D’Ashia Johnson made a jumper with six tics left to put AHS ahead 7-4 after the first period.

The Lady Bulldogs dominated in the second period, forcing a press on the Lady Tigers’s team to cause turnovers and easy buckets on fast breaks.

Laticia Crittenden got the scoring going for AHS with a steal and layup on the other end in the second. Andalusia led 13-4 with less than five minutes left after Johnson drove the lane for a layup.

Crittenden got a bucket and Lawrence made a 1-and-1 with 8.9 seconds left in the first half to give AHS an 18-10 at the break.

Malcolm led AHS with eight points, 10 rebounds and one block; Thompkins had seven points and nine rebounds; Johnson laced in five points; and Crittenden and Lawrence had four points each.

Morris led MCHS with 11 points.

Andalusia’s going to take a short break and will get right back to work for next season, Herring said.

“I’ll give them a week,” she said. “We’ve got to get back in the weight room. I think they’ve seen things they need to work on. We’re going to hit it.”