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Lady Tigers win area championship, 39-23

The Demopolis Lady Tigers used a suffocating defensive performance to coast past visiting Thomasville 39-23 and win another 4A Area 5 championship Saturday night in Demopolis.

The teams had split their regular season meetings and Thomasville looked to be heading for a second upset of the No. 7 Lady Tigers when they took an 11-2 lead with 1:32 remaining in the first quarter.

But from that point it was all Demopolis. Forward Kierra Plaskett and center Kelli Johnson combined for eight points in a four-minute span that cut the Thomasville lead to 13-11 with 5:19 left in the first half.

Thomasville scored on their next possession to push the lead back to 15-11, but the suddenly-inspired Demopolis defense would not allow the visitors another field goal until only 1:05 remained in the game, a span of 19 minutes and 37 seconds in which all the Thomasville offense could muster was five free throws.

While Demopolis dominated on the defensive end, the Lady Tigers’ senior forward Katerria Johnson was doing the same on the offensive end. Johnson sat out much of the first half after picking up two early fouls, but returned late in the second quarter to hit three key baskets, the last coming with 10 seconds left in the half to give Demopolis a 23-16 halftime lead.

Johnson picked up right where she left off after the break, scoring the Lady Tigers’ first two baskets of the half and adding a free throw with 4:13 left in the third quarter to put Demopolis up 28-16. Four points in the period’s final two minutes from Shawnese Armstead helped put the game well out of reach as Demopolis entered the final period with a 35-17 lead.

Katerria Johnson finished with a game-high 11 points and was named Tournament MVP. She was followed by Armstead with 10 points and Kelli Johnson with 7 points, both of whom were named to the All-Tournament team. Plaskett’s 4, Jasmine Simmons’ 4, Krystal Walker’s 2, and Shay Smith’s 1.