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MA ladies take junior high tourney

Marengo Academy’s junior high girls brought home some hardware over the weekend after winning the AISA Class AA Junior High State Invitational Tournament at Lowndes Academy.

“It was a long day,” head coach Danny Stenz said of the Saturday event in which his team played three games and weeded its way through a 16-team field. “We started at 8 a.m. We played three games and won all three of them. I can’t say enough about the girls. They really hustled and got after it.”

The Longhorn ladies entered the bracket as the No. 4 seed and kicked off the day with a 29-10 win over Autauga Academy. MA led 20-2 at halftime and played its reserve players the majority of the second half.

Maleah Digmon led with 11 points in the game. Chandler Stenz added nine in the win.

Marengo clung to a 20-18 third-quarter lead to beat Patrician 34-30 in the second game. Stenz had eight points in game. Katie Tucker and Destiny Huckabee each scored seven points, while Digmon and Donelle Hale each finished six points.

In the championship game, Marengo beat Southern Academy 40-26 on the strength of a third quarter in which it outran SA on the way to an 18-5 advantage.

“The girls made up their mind at halftime they wanted to go all out that third quarter,” Stenz said.

Stenz said much of his team’s success was predicated on the fact that many of its core players have logged significant minutes on both the varsity and junior high squads throughout the season.

“Experience-wise, I think that might have been our biggest key to winning the whole thing,” Stenz said. “I just hope they continue playing. I just hope that they’ll enjoy it enough to stay with it when they get to the junior and senior level. Down the road, this bunch here, if they’ll stay together, will be really good their 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade years.”

Digmon earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player honors while Chandler Stenz, a seventh-grader, received all-tournament team recognition.

The team has worked its way to a 13-5 record thus far this season.