E.A. Sports Today

It’s all about today

Lady Panthers don’t need a history lesson, looking to make a little of their own focusing on here and now

Katessa Carter (11) races the ball up the floor as Weaver’s Amira Carter (20) and Rayne Beck give chase. (Photos by Dave Brandsma)

2017 Calhoun County Girls Tournament thru semifinals – GIRLS BRACKET
(Bracket by Kurt Duryea)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – When Wellborn takes the court tonight in the girls championship game of the Calhoun County Tournament, coach Shanese Morgan isn’t going to worry about how long it’s been since the Lady Panthers were in the finals, how long since they’ve won it, what their seed is or any other outside influence.

The Lady Panthers made it to the finals by ending Weaver’s Cinderella story 51-45 Friday. They will play top-seeded Anniston for the title Saturday at 6 p.m.

It’s only the third time in school history Wellborn has reached the finals of the Calhoun County Tournament and the first time since 2010. The Lady Panthers haven’t won it since 1996.

But with all that history, Morgan is only concerned with the present.

“I’m not going to get caught up in history, not let any of that affect us,” she said. “What I told the girls was no matter what we have to go out and play our game, play our best, give our all.

“It’s another game, a new day, a new beginning. All that matters is how we go out and play tomorrow.”

The Lady Panthers (15-6) got off to a slow start, then were locked in a battle with their area co-leaders until Weaver simply ran out of gas from playing four games in seven days and three in four days.

The Lady Bearcats held the first-quarter lead and looked as if their charmed life in the tournament was going to continue. But they fell behind by one at the half, and then were outscored 17-11 in the third quarter and Wellborn stayed ahead the rest of the game.

“I was afraid that playing three nights fatigue was going to get us and we missed wide open layups in the fourth quarter; we had no legs,” Weaver coach Gary Atchley said. “I didn’t want to get into a fast-break game early, but because they were standing around we got into it. We’re exhausted.”

Vanessa Carter led the Lady Panthers with 20 points; she had six in each of the last three quarters. Itiania Weatherly added 12, including six in the third quarter when the Lady Panthers pulled away. Caleigh Cortez led Weaver with 18 points.

“I really wasn’t worried,” Carter said. “It was a little frustrating, but I knew we had it in us to come out and try to win the game. Coach told us to go out there and play our game like we know how, so we tried to executive play and make every play count.”

Wellborn 51, Weaver 45
Caleigh Cortez 6-5-18, Tayanna Perry 1-2-4, Rayne Beck 2-0-4, Emily Reed 4-0-8, Amira Carter 0-0-0, Mariah Thompson 5-0-11
Abby Gaines 0-0-0. Totals 18-7-45.

WELLBORN (15-6) – Vanessa Carter 10-0-20, Anaya Lowe 0-0-0, Loni Welch 0-0-0, Katessa Carter 1-3-5, Itiania Weatherly 6-0-12, Aliyah Thrasher 3-0-7, Markiesha Jones 3-1-7. Totals 23-4-51.

Weaver 13 6 11 15 — 45
Wellborn 8 13 17 13 — 51

3-point goals: Weaver 2 (Cortez, Thompson); Wellborn 1 (Thrasher). Total fouls: Weaver 9, Wellborn 11.

Wellborn’s Itiania Weatherly looks for someone to pass to as Weaver’s Rayne Beck closes in. (Photo by Dave Brandsma)

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