Huntsville girls take championship, Lady Bobcats 2nd
It was everything a fan could want ---- two well coached teams battling it out neck-and-neck for four quarters, with each team's top scorer making a big basket in the last minute to put her team ahead.
When the final buzzer went off last Friday night in the girls' championship game of the 46th Annual Green Forest Holiday Tournament, the Huntsville Lady Eagles (7-0) were on top, 40-39, avenging last year's one-point loss to Berryville (5-5) in the finals.
Berryville girls vs Huntsville
6-9, 17-22, 24-33, 39-40
Coach Mitch Myrick's Lady Bobcats put the 'H' in hustle for this game, battling Coach Charles Berry's taller and well-disciplined Lady Eagles all over the floor.
But it came down to size, as 6-4 Lady Eagle Tabitha Christian scored 20 points in the lane in spite of Berryville's best defensive efforts, and 6-0 teammate Jillia Walker added 12.
For Berryville, Sheena Spielberg swished the nets for 19 points, including three 3's, and 2 of 2 shooting at the free throw line. Teammate Kristy Wharton was the only other Lady Bobcat in double figures with 12.
Spielberg, Wharton, Stephanie Hicks, Christina McNeal, and Lindsey Moore started and tried to get their running game going, while Huntsville looked for Christian and Walker inside.
Berryville also got help from Danyaile Hagler, Lora Spurgin, and Crystal Wilson, who logged good minutes for the team.
Spielberg hit a three to start the second quarter and tied the game at 9-all, but Christian was blocking shots inside and scoring from the free throw line and Huntsville went up 20-11 with 3:20 to go until halftime.
Huntsville was working their high-low passing game to perfection, but Spielberg hit a deuce with nine seconds to go and it was a 5-point, 22-17 bulge at halftime.
Crystal Wilson took on the job of guarding Christian inside the second half, while the rest of Berryville's squad packed the defensive pressure on in layers.
Wharton got hot, nailing a three and a two in the third to make it 27-22, but Huntsville's 2-1-2 zone was hurting the Bobcats offense.
McNeal picked up her third foul, Moore her fourth, and Christian was killing the Lady Bobcats inside with rebounding and scoring. She had 18 points when the third quarter ended, but made just two more points in the game.
Spielberg started the fourth quarter with a three, then Moore got a fastbreak layup with 5:31 to play and Berryville trailed just 36-31. Spielberg hit another three to make it 36-34, and the Lady Bobcats turned up the pressure on their fullcourt press.
Walker slipped inside for two with 2:19 to play and Huntsville led, 38-34, but Wharton answered for Berryville, swishing a three to make it a one-point game, 38-37.
Christian missed two free throws, opening the door for the Lady Bobcats, then Spielberg gave Berryville its only lead of the game, 39-38, with a deuce in the lane with just 1:12 to play.
Christian met the challenge, scoring inside again with just 28 seconds left to play, and Berryville missed its last shot as time ran out in a 40-39 loss.
Scoring- BV- Spielberg- 19, 2/2 Fts, 3 3's; Wharton- 12, 2 3's; 4's- McNeal, Moore. Team- 4/6 Fts, none in second half. HV- Christian- 20; Walker- 12; Lynsey Thomas- 6; Tamara Livingston- 2. Team- 9/14 Fts, 6/10 second half.