Francis Marion moves to next round

Published 12:19 am Friday, February 18, 2011

A Francis Marion player tries to protect the ball from a Leroy defender Thursday night. The Lady Rams held on for the win 65-61. -- Chris Wasson

MARION — Veronica Sawyer scored 20 points for Francis Marion, but none were more important than her last.

Sawyer stepped to the foul line with 4.1 seconds to play in the fourth quarter and hit the first to give the Lady Rams a 65-61 win over Leroy to advance to the AHSAA class AA regional finals in Montgomery.

“I just went up there and knew I had to make it,” Sawyer said.

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“I’m just glad we were able to hold them off at the end.”

The Lady Rams looked to be running away with the game after they pulled ahead by 14 points at the end of the third quarter, but the Leroy continued to chip away at the lead and came as close as three with 30 seconds left to play.

“I got a little bit of a scouting report on them and the first thing the coach told me was we couldn’t give up on Leroy,” Francis Marion coach Michael Bedell said. “You have to tip your hat to Leroy, they really fought, but I’m proud that my girls we up to the challenge.”

The game was wide open from the start, with neither team getting a grasp of the other on defense.

“We didn’t play defense well at all,” Bedell said. “It’s something we are going to have to work on before regionals.”

The trip will be the first for any of the girls on the team and they have gained experience in the offseason and worked in the weight room to achieve their goals after failing to reach even the sub-regional in the previous two years according to Bedell.

“I’m just really excited. These girls came in and we had a couple of years of rebuilding, but all of their hard work paid off.”

Khadijah Bates led the Lady Rams and all scorers with 21 points followed by Sawyer’s 21.

Kedra Powell led the Lady Bears with 16.

R.C. Hatch 62,

Choctaw County 53

BUTLER — The R.C. Hatch Lady Bobcats advanced to the Class 2A central regional tournament at Alabama State University in Montgomery next week after beating the Choctaw County Lady Tigers Thursday night.

The Lady Bobcats will play either Horseshoe Bend or Lanett in the opening round of the regional tournament next Tuesday. Tip off could be at either 9 a.m. or noon, depending on the pairing.

Beauregard 69,

Dallas County 44

OPELIKA — The Dallas County Lady Hornets saw their season come to an end Thursday night in Opelika after falling to the Beauregard Lady Hornets 69-44.

Beauregard will now move on to the Class 4A central regional tournament at Alabama State University in Montgomery. Their first round game will be either at 9 a.m. or noon on Wednesday.