Saints falter in regionals

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Talladega ended No. 5 Selma’s title hopes with a 53-45 win in the Class 5A Central Regional on Tuesday.

The Tigers kept the Saints off-balance the whole contest, and Selma’s shooting — save for one brief, hope-filled spark — proved to be its undoing.

A Jessica Merritt putback of a missed Whitney Scales layup gave the Tigers a 47-37 lead — their largest of the contest — with only 4:03 left to play.

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Keisha Moore stroked a 3-pointer to spark an 8-0 Selma run, and only 57 seconds after Talladega took its largest advantage, Selma made it 47-45.

Moore’s 3-pointer was the Saints’ first of the game. Ashley Grimes followed with the Saints’ only other 3-pointer to aid the run. However, just as quickly as it heated up, the Saints’ shooting cooled off.

“I told my girls when I called a time out, ‘We’re going to have to pick up (Grimes) and (Moore),’” said Talladega coach Jannie Keith. “They’re great shooters, great players. If we can just maintain those two girls, then we’ll be all right. And we did.”

Talladega outscored Selma 6-0 the rest of the way.

“We actually went away from what we practiced,” said Selma assistant Melissa White. “We didn’t run transition well, and our post players didn’t step up.”

Merritt led the Tigers with 16 points. Marie McAbee added 14, and Scales finished with 13.

Moore and Grimes led the Saints with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Breanna Smith added 10.