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Lady Tigers grab key area win

Demopolis (2-2, 1-0) scored a key 5A, Area 5 victory Tuesday when it downed visiting Greenville in three games.

“It was a big one. One of our team goals is to beat each of our area opponents once during the regular season. We’re halfway there to reaching a goal and going into Selma on Thursday,” Demopolis head coach Blythe Smith said. “We can feel somewhat confident and just be ready to work.”

The Lady Tigers struggled in the early going of the first game, trading blows with Greenville as both teams failed to find a rhythm.

Demopolis led 13-12 when it forced a Greenville error to take a 14-12 lead and take back the serve.

“I don’t know what was going on with them, but I know that we traditionally have a hard time of getting motivated and being energetic at the very beginning of the game,” Smith said. “That is something we need to work on is coming out strong and being motivated at the very beginning.”

Demopolis junior Shannon Pittman stepped to the baseline to serve. Pittman proceeded to launch 11 straight serves into play, mixing a couple of aces with a handful of Greenville errors and getting solid volley play from her teammates to ice the game and send Demopolis to a 1-0 lead.

“She came through with the serve. We really focused on serves recently with our serve-a-thon. Everybody has to be prepared to step up to the plate with their serve. She has a good consistent serve. She was ready tonight.,” Smith said of Pittman. “Everybody else backed her up and we were able to hold onto it for that long.”

In game two, Demopolis sputtered out of the gate. The home Lady Tigers trailed the entire way, forcing Smith to take both of her timeouts before the team found any semblance of continuity.

“The first timeout, I told them they were making some pretty stupid mistakes and they needed to tighten up,” Smith said. “The second timeout, I had to pull Cailin Bamberg out because of an injury. After that, I think they realized they had to pull together and make it work.”

Following the second timeout, the Lady Tigers took back the serve, sending Megan Smith to the baseline down 19-13. Smith worked the team to a19-17 deficit before faulting on a serve to hand Greenville the advantage. The team wasted little time taking the advantage back as Jade Montgomery served the squad into a 20-20 tie before faulting the ball back to Greenville.

After a brief exchange, Demopolis took the serve back in a 21-21 game before senior Keona Branch put the set away with a quartet of serves, pushing Demopolis to a 2-0 lead.

Demopolis found itself in a scuffle again in the early going of game three before sophomore Riley King brought a steady hand to the service line. She took the ball with her team up 8-6 and worked the squad to a 21-7 advantage before Greenville finally broke the serve.

“In the first two games I switched up my substitutes and she didn’t serve like she normally did,” Smith explained. “So that was the first time she really did any serving that night. She brings a calmness to the floor and a consistency in what she did. There are very few girls who can go that long without hitting it into the net or hitting it out of bounds and she did it.” Demopolis went on to finish the game at 25-10. The Lady Tigers are scheduled to play again Thursday at 4:30 when they visit Selma for another region contest.

“We’ve got to play more like we played against Thomasville,” Smith said, pointing to her team’s need for improvement before Thursday. “We’ve got to play for every point. We can’t let a few points slide here and a few points slide there.” That match is slated to be played at Concordia College.