Warrior upsets Sumter
The old adage that the playoffs are a brand new season was proven again Friday afternoon in Marion, as third-seeded Warrior Academy defeated second seed and area co-champions Sumter Academy 49-37 in the AISA Class A West Area IV girls tournament.
Warrior advances to the championship game to face the winner of the game between top-seeded host team MMI and Southern Academy, and will play in the AISA Regionals starting Feb. 9. With the loss, Sumter Academy’s season comes to a disappointing close.
The victorious Lady Braves had lost twice to Sumter during the regular season, falling to the Lady Eagles at home in Eutaw Jan. 3 and on the road Jan. 24. But if the Lady Braves had lost any confidence from those meetings, it never showed Friday as they took control of the game early and never relinquished it.
Junior guard Keshara Moore exploded out of the gate, scoring 11 of Warrior’s 13 first-quarter points while forcing several turnovers that helped hold Sumter to only 4 points in the period.
Moore continued to set the tone in the second quarter, scoring six of her team’s next eight points as Warrior built the lead to 23-6 with less than two minutes to play in the first half. Despite three consecutive points from Sumter’s Angie Tanner, Warrior led 25-9 at the break and scored the first six points of the second half to take a 22-point lead with 5:44 to play in the third quarter.
But as the Sumter defense began clamping down on Moore (who finished with only two free throws and no field goals in the period) the Lady Eagles began working their way back into the game. A pair of baskets by Erin Ozment sandwiched back-to-back scores by leading Sumter scorer Mallory Fox for an 8-0 run that cut the lead to 14.
The lead was 16, 38-22, at the end of the third quarter, but the Lady Eagles went on another six-point spurt that closed the gap to 38-28 with 6:50 to play. After Moore missed the back end of a one-and-one, a Kate Derby basket with 3:24 took the lead into single digits at 41-32. With 2:53 to play Ozment’s ninth point of the second half brought the Lady Eagles within eight, 43-35.
But foul trouble had started to catch up with Sumter. With 4:51 remaining senior guard Brandy Walden fouled out, and with 2:09 to play Fox drew her fifth as well. A Tricia Langham basket with 25 seconds later pushed the lead to 12, 47-35, and effectively iced the game for the Lady Braves.
Despite only scoring six points in the second half, Moore finished with a game-high 23 points. She was joined on the Warrior scoresheet by Langham with 7, Michelle Yeager and Kenya Andrews with 5, Ashley Clements with 4, Ava Quinney with 3, and Porsha Knox with 2.
Fox led Sumter with 12 points and was joined in double figures by Ozment, with 11. Tanner, Walden, Danielle Partridge, and Brittany Bishop each scored 3 points for Sumter while Derby finished with 2.
Southern Academy 52, WAP 23
Heather Acker each scored 14 points as Southern Academy defeated the WAP Lady Titans in first-round action Thursday night in Marion.
With the win, the Lady Cougars advanced to face the sixth-ranked Lady Tigers Friday evening. MMI won both previous meetings this season.
Acker’s game-high 14 for Southern was followed by Libba McCelndon and Elizabeth Hinton with 8, Caitlin Osmer with 6, Mary Cris Segura, Emily Jay, and Amber Miller with 4, and Leah Doss and Laurina Ferrell with 2.
WAP was led again by leading scorer Julia Colgrove, who scored 9. She was followed by Lauren McDonald with 5, Callie Lecroy with 3, and Madison Pollenitz, Lana Stokes, and Casey Pruett with 2.