Junior leads Southside to state
TROY&045;Things looked bleak for the Southside Lady Panthers Saturday afternoon in Troy.
Facing a Coosa-Central team they had already beaten three times, the Lady Panthers trailed by two with under a minute to play and the Lady Cougars had the ball.
But fortune smiled on coach Matthews Williams team and they rallied to take a thrilling 41-38 win and earn a trip to the Alabama State Basketball Final Four in Birmingham.
The rally started
with a Cougars mistake.
Standing wide open behind the arc, a Lady Cougar decided to jack up a three instead of running more clock.
The ball ricocheted off the rim and into the hands of Southside’s Katricia Brown.
The Lady Panthers went on a fast break, missing the layup, but Makesha Towns was ready.
She grabbed the rebound and laid it in plus the foul.
The free throw put Southside ahead by a point.
Central responded as Shakethia Thomas drove for two points with 27 seconds left.
The Panthers turned to tournament MVP Kimberly Broadnax who bulled inside for two points and the lead. On the ensuing inbounds play, the Lady Cougar throwing the ball in failed to get all the way out of bounds and turned the ball back over to Southside.
Leading by one with 13 seconds left, everyone expected the Lady Panthers to try and run some clock.
Instead, they went inside to Broadnax who laid it up and in.
Coosa missed a desperation 3-pointers and the Lady Panthers charged the court with the win.
Coach Williams said his team pulled out the win with, &uot;The grace of the good Lord and a good, solid defensive effort.&uot;
Williams added that Broadnax did a bit of freelancing for the final basket, he had planned for the girls to try and run out some clock.
Broadnax finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead all scorers.
Towns added seven points and 11 rebounds in the low-scoring contest.
Kendra Marzette, who also made all-tournament, finished with five points as did Andeaka Williams.
Tiffany Anderson, Demetrice Shelton and Brown all had two each.
Thomas and Monica Hunter had 10 points each for Central.
With the win, the Lady Panthers will play Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. in Birmingham.
The Panthers earned their trip the hard way.
With a tough, hard-nosed defense and just enough offense to get the job done.
The coach added that he knew this team had the potential to go to Birmingham at the start of the year. &uot;I knew the talent was there, the talent was there all the time, we just had to put it together,&uot; Williams said.
After their win Friday, Selma coach Anthony Harris and his players Santana Seay and Kimberly Wilson all said they were rooting for Southside to join them in Birmingham.
Saturday, Broadnax said the Lady Panthers would like to see two teams bring state titles back home to Selma.