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Senators can’t overcome slow start in loss

Morgan almost overcame a sluggish start in Friday’s 46-40 loss to Bessemer Academy in the semifinals of the Class AAA, Region II playoffs on Friday.

Unfortunately, “almost” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Bessemer raced out to a 15-0 first-quarter lead behind early baskets from Kyla Rooks and two Ashley Rodgers 3-pointers. The Senators finally got on the board with a Caitlin Henderson free throw at the 1:25 mark.

“You can’t spot a good team 15 points and expect to win,” said Morgan coach Robert Andress.

The Rebels used an 8-0 run capped by a Rodgers steal and layup to extend the lead to 24-6 with 4:09 left in the half.

Facing an early rout, the Senators got off the mat and fought back. Anne Woodruff heated up, hitting a free throw, jump shot and earning a steal and layup in a 10-0 Morgan run to close the half.

“They were beating us on the fast break, so we dropped two guards back to stop that,” said Andress. “We switched to a halfcourt press and got a few steals to get back in it.”

Morgan closed the third period with a 6-0 run to trim the deficit to 29-26 and retain the momentum. An April Clark layup made it 32-30 with 6:05 left in the final period, and the Senators smelled a comeback.

But Rooks put the Rebels on her back, swinging the momentum in the process. She hit two free throws and converted hit a layup off a Rodgers steal to push the lead back to six.

“That was a big play,” said Bessemer coach — and Selma native — Jerome Dangerfield. “When we got that spark, that did it.”

The Rebels fended off the Senators down the stretch to secure the win.

Rodgers led the Rebels (17-5) with 18 points, and Rooks added 11.

Kattie Dewitt led the Senators (10-13) with 12, and Woodruff added 11.