E.A. Sports Today

Donoho closing strong

Lady Falcons use big fourth quarter to get past Sacred Heart in area tournament; face top-seeded Faith Christian next

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

For Melissa Smyly and her Donoho girls basketball team, this has not been the best of seasons. Injuries and limited numbers that come with 1A girls’ basketball took their toll as the Lady Falcons managed to win only two games before taking on Sacred Heart in the first round of the Area 12 tournament Monday.

But as the final seconds ticked off the clock the Lady Falcons celebrated win No. 3 as they beat the Lady Cardinals 48-36, and for a moment realized just how far they have come this season.

“It’s hard having a developed program when you have to go straight from volleyball season into basketball,” Smyly said. “I tell the girls every day you cannot play basketball from October to February and plan to be a good team. So because we have players coming from other sports early in the season it makes it difficult, but I’m proud of the way they played through adversity and have peaked towards the end of the season, which is when you need to.”

The Lady Falcons (3-15) played some of their best ball of the season to earn a date with top-seeded Faith Christian in the next round. They were led by senior Annamarie Woodfin, who was dominant in what could have been her last game as a Falcon. She led the team in scoring with 14 points while Lauren Holbrook had 11 points with 10 rebounds. Alysse Lalonde scored eight points.

Holbrook was powerful in the paint as she created an intimidating presence towering over an outmatched opponent. This size advantage will need to be on full display in the next round against top-seeded host Faith Christian on Wednesday.

“It is important having such a tall presence in the paint,” Smyly said. “Moving forward into the game against Faith Christian, Lauren will have to be on her game against (Madison) Stephens and others who will create the big plays for them.”

And although Sacred Heart’s season came to an end without a victory, Lady Cardinals coach Kita McMurray envisions what kind of success lies ahead.

“Everything right now is about the boys team and rightfully so,” McMurray said. “But I tell the girls all the time that we are young and are getting better and once we start to win we will draw the fans and the atmosphere just like the boys do.

“Our JV did so well in the county tournament and to see this team continue to get better I think next year we will do it justice.”

The future was on display Monday as seventh grader Allashe Dudley had 11; she had 25 when the teams played last week. Junior Jarece Tillery led the team in scoring with 14 points and six rebounds.

The Lady Cardinals (0-13) battled for all four quarters and even tied the game at the end of the third, but Donoho regrouped and pulled away. Holbrook and Woodfin each scored five points in the fourth quarter for the Lady Falcons.

“I think tonight’s game was a testament to the season,” Smyly said. “We would go up and then let them right back in the game. We have done that a lot this season, but hopefully if we can pull it together on Wednesday we can have another shot at winning.”

Donoho 48, Sacred Heart 36

SACRED HEART (0-13) – Allasha Dudley 4 3-6 11, Abby Vingers 1 1-2 3, Sophie Allen 0 0-0 0, Sydney Marion 0 0-0 0, Megan Lott 2 0-0 6, Allie Thompson 0 0-0 0, Jarece Tillery 7 0-0 14, Jacque Beyerle 0 1-2 1, Morgan Calloway 0 1-3 1. Totals 14 6-13 36.

DONOHO (3-15) — Anna Marie Woodfin 4 4-7 14, Kirin Heathcock 1 1-3 3, Alysse Lalonde 3 1-3 6, Savannah Frickey 2 1-2 5, Constance Hodges 3 1-2 7, Jenna Stremmel 0 0-0 0, Lauren Holbrook 4 3-4 11. Totals 17 11-22 48.

Sacred Heart 9 11 15 1 — 36
Donoho 12 14 10 12 — 48

3-point goals: Sacred Heart 2 (Lott 2); Donoho 3 (Woodfin 2, Lalonde). Fouled out: Lott. Total fouls: Sacred Heart 21, Donoho 15. Officials: Teel, Coley, McClellan.

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