Red Level falls by five in South Regional championship to Elba

Published 1:00 pm Friday, February 24, 2023

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Red Level fought until the very end but came up just short, 55-50, to Elba in the South 1A Girls Regional championship at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Red Level’s Summer Beverly looks to maintain possession of the ball as Anna Caldwell keeps up on defense for Elba. (PHOTO BY ZACK MAIO)

EHS improved to 25-6 on the season and earned a trip to the AHSAA State Finals in Birmingham on Monday, Feb. 27, at 9 a.m. against Marion County. RLS closed out the year with a 15-7 record.

Mariah Crowell looks to make a big play for Red Level against Elba’s Tajah Purvis. (PHOTO BY ZACK MAIO)

Both teams were fairly even in the opening period. Mariah Crowell made a free throw for the first point before baskets by Yada Caldwell and A’lyric Whitfield gave Elba a 4-1 lead. Summer Beverly knocked down a jumper and tied the score at 6-6 with 3:14 to go in the first. After another jumper from Whitfield, Elizabeth Cross sank two free throws as Red Level took a 10-9 lead after one.

Crowell began the second with a three-pointer before a layup by Cross stretched the lead to 15-9. Elba went on an 8-2 run and drew even at 17-17. Whitfield scored four points during the streak. The two sides traded the lead three times down the stretch, and Anna Caldwell made the score 21-19 with a layup. Miracle Wright had the final say and drained a three-pointer to give Red Level a 22-21 lead at halftime.

Kaitlyn Beverly sprints past an Elba defender on her way to the basket. (PHOTO BY ZACK MAIO)

Wright converted a foul shot, and Cross hit a jumper in the opening minutes of the third for a 25-21 lead. After EHS retook the lead at 26-25, Kaitlyn Beverly banked a three. The two sides remained close and forced three ties before the end of the period. Ke’Mariah Crittenden made a layup for a 33-33 score until Whitfield had a tip-in with eight seconds left. Cross then threw up a prayer from long range at the buzzer, and it fell as RLS took a 36-35 lead after three.

Elizabeth “Liz” Cross works on offense against a defender. (PHOTO BY ZACK MAIO)

Alayvia Stinson drilled a three and put Elba in front 38-36 with 6:55 left in the contest. Wright followed suit before back-to-back jumpers from S. Beverly took the score to 43-40. K. Beverly kept Red Level ahead by three at 45-42 with a layup. Nyasia McCollough converted a three-point play and forced a 45-45 tie with 4:49 remaining. Cross went two-for-two at the line, and K. Beverly sank a three for a 50-45 lead at the 4:11 mark. The turning point came when Crowell went to the line. Officials called for two shots, although it was actually a one-and-one. When the shot missed, Crowell went to get the rebound and was called for a traveling violation. EHS scored the final 10 points of the game, while RLS was unable to score again.

Cross led Red Level with 20 points and was followed by K. Beverly at eight. S. Beverly and Wright each added seven points as Crowell finished with six. Whitfield paced Elba with 25 points in the win. Caldwell had 10, and McCollough was next with nine.