E.A. Sports Today

Wellborn’s ‘second chance’

Lady Panthers return to JSU in attempt to make amends for county final after holding off Piedmont to win its 3A subregional game

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

For the first time in nine years the Wellborn Lady Panthers are going to the Northeast Regional.

The Lady Panthers sealed the deal Monday night after holding off a furious fourth-quarter rally by Piedmont to take a 50-41 Class 3A sub–regional victory.

They will play Pisgah 6 p.m. Monday in the Northeast Regional semifinal at Jacksonville State.

“We are just so excited,” Wellborn coach Shanese Morgan said. “I told the girls after we lost to Anniston in the county finals that our goal was to make it back to JSU and play better this next time. We wanted to win our Area and we did that, too. We are just happy to get a second chance.”

Wellborn jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead in the first two minutes and then both teams went cold from the floor, scoring only one field goal apiece the remainder of the opening quarter.

The Lady Panthers extended the lead to 15-2 with four minutes left in the second quarter as Piedmont could not get anything to drop. Finally, Kaitlyn Ridley’s 3-pointer just inside the four-minute mark jump-started a small Piedmont rally.

However, the Carter sisters Vanessa and Katessa combined for 13 first-half points to give Wellborn a 22-11 halftime lead.

Trailing 39-22 midway through the fourth quarter, the basket finally opened up for Piedmont as Breanna Brazier drained five 3-pointers to help the Lady Bulldogs cut their deficit to seven points, but Wellborn withstood the charge with timely baskets as all five starters had at least eight points in the game.

Piedmont missed its first 10 free throws in the game and committed 20 turnovers to aid an already tough 1-3-1 Wellborn defense.

“We have been working on our defense the last couple of weeks and our reboundingm” Morgan said. “We have been working on getting them to box out and crashing the boards and it paid off tonight.

Katessa Carter had 10 points and 13 rebounds in the game, while her sister Vanessa had 15 points and four rebounds. Itiania Weatherly had nine points and nine rebounds, and Aliyah Thrasher had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Sydney Prater had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead Piedmont. Brazier got all of her game-high 16 points in the final quarter. Rebecca Smart was a beast on the boards with 18 rebounds for Piedmont.

“We really had to keep our composure down the stretch when Brazier was making all those 3s,” said Morgan.” I was so happy for our girls.”

Wellborn 50, Piedmont 41
Jakieya Mitchell 1 0-2 3, Breanna Brazier 5 1-2 16, Kaitlyn Ridley 3 0-2 8, Sydney Prater 4 4-8 12, Rebecca Smart 1 0-2 2. Totals 14 5-16 41.

WELLBORN – Vanessa Carter 5 3-4 15, Katessa Carter 3 2-2 10, Itiania Weatherly 3 3-5 9, Aliyah Thrasher 3 0-0 8, Markeisha Jones 4 0-0 8. Totals 18 8-11 50.

Piedmont 2 9 8 22 — 41
Wellborn 11 11 10 18 — 50

3-point goals: Piedmont 8 (Mitchell, Brazier 5, Ridley 2); Wellborn 6 (V. Carter 2, T. Carter 2, Thrasher 2); Rebounds: Piedmont 49 (Smart 18, Prater 12, Ridley 12); Wellborn 46 (T. Carter 13, Thrasher 11).

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