E.A. Sports Today

Another step forward

Glencoe girls use balanced attack and big run at the end of the first half to win their holiday tournament for the first time

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE – The idea that gets talked about a lot around the Glencoe girls basketball program is doing better than you had the year before.

Nothing says that better than beating the team that beat you in last year’s final to win your own tournament for the first time.

But that’s exactly what the Lady Jackets accomplished Saturday night when they put together a well-rounded effort to beat Fort Payne 59-49 to win the girls side of the Glencoe Holiday Shootout for the first time in the short history of the event.

“The significance of that to me is we keep talking to the girls about how we’re getting better than last year,” Glencoe coach Daniel Cook said. “When you come out here with a rematch against Fort Payne – same team in the same championship game – and we win, it just solidifies the fact we’re getting better.

“We can say that in practice. We can say that when we have a tough loss. But until they actually see it and go through it, that kind of reinforces the fact.”

They didn’t award a most valuable player for the tournament, but, then, picking one player from what truly was a balanced effort would seem a disservice. Point guard Anna Beth Giles led the Lady Jackets (10-5) in scoring in the championship game with 12 points, but Ashley Morgan had 11 and Lauren Cole and Breia Little had 10 apiece. It was like that all week.

“Shoot, this is a team win,” Cook said.

Little helped Glencoe jump on top with two 3-pointers in the first quarter and the Lady Jackets never trailed. The game was tied only once (2-2), then the Lady Jackets hit back-to-back 3-pointers and were on their way.

Fort Payne (12-5) drew within 21-20 early in the second quarter, then Glencoe went on a 12-0 run to grab a 13-point halftime lead. It started with another Little 3-pointer and ended with a Morgan bucket near the buzzer.

The Lady Wildcats got within 10 on Libba Sheppard’s 3-pointer with just under five minutes left in the third quarter, but the Lady Jackets scored the next eight points – with Giles buckets at the start and finish – and were never seriously pushed again.

“That’s our M.O.,” Cook said. “It is our job to play full-court man to wear them out. We want to beat teams at the end of the first half and at the end of the second half.”

The Lady Jackets went calmly to midcourt to collect the championship trophy, but the real prize and the real celebration took place in the locker room, where they were rewarded the coveted tournament T-shirt that goes only to the winner.

They worked hard for that shirt. In their three tournament games, they beat 3A Wellborn (75-38, with eight players scoring at least seven points), 6A Oxford (60-45 with three scorers in double figures) and, of course, Fort Payne Saturday night. They could easily have a better record; four of their losses have come by four points or less.

“It was our goal,” Morgan said. “We talked about it quite a bit. Our goals were really to win county and area and sub-region and get to Jacksonville and maybe the Final Four; that was one of our main goals.

“I think we’ve improved from last year. This keeps us getting better. The better the competition, the more we’ll be prepared at Jacksonville.”

Glencoe Holiday Shootout
Girls Championship Game
Glencoe 59, Fort Payne 49
FORT PAYNE (12-5) –
Rachael Walker 0 0-0 0, Isabelle Goggans 7 5-7 20, Kaiya Jones 0 0-1 0, Mattie Prewett 0 0-0 0, Kori Willingham 2 0-0 6, Alex Ogle 0 0-0 0, Libba Sheppard 5 0-0 11, Jenna Williams 0 0-0 0, TreAnna Kerley 3 6-8 12. Totals 17 11-16 49.

GLENCOE (10-5) – Anna Grace Goodwin 0 1-3 1, Anna Beth Giles 5 2-5 12, Abby Vice 1 2-3 5, Alyssa Goodwin 0 0-0 0, Ashley Morgan 5 1-2 11, Kenleigh Harper 1 0-0 3, Lauren Cole 5 0-0 10, Kaylie Davis 1 0-0 2, Breia Little 3 1-4 10, Aubrey Gray 3 0-0 6. Totals 24 7-17 59.

Fort Payne 12 8 13 16 — 49
Glencoe 19 14 14 12 — 59

3-point goals: Fort Payne 4 (Goggans, Willingham 2, Sheppard); Glencoe 4 (Harper, Little 3). Fouled out: Prewett, Kerley. Total fouls: Fort Payne 16, Glencoe 13. Officials: Robinson, Lemon, Morriss.

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