Edward Bell girls win area titlePublished 10:51pm Saturday, February 12, 2011
In what was a nip-and-tuck game throughout between Edward Bell and St. Jude, the Lady Bears were the last ones standing Saturday in Camp Hill.
Edward Bell took the lead for good with less than four minutes remaining on a Janeisha Moss 3-pointer and won the Class 1A, Area 6 Tournament championship 60-56 over the No. 7 Lady Pirates.
The Lady Bears (19-4), which have now won 10 straight games, will host Sunshine Thursday night. St. Jude will travel to Akron. The winners advance to the Central Regional next week at Alabama State.
Desharte Edwards (16), Kierra Billingsley (13), Moss (13) and Natalie Copeland (11) all were in double figures in Edward Bell’s balanced attack. That was enough to overcome the 31 points from St. Jude’s Taylor Sippial.
“I’m extremely proud of the girls for buckling down,” head coach Nancy Shealey said. “We just had one or two girls carrying us for a while, but you can’t get anywhere like that. Now, we’ve had some other girls step up and defenses can’t just focus on stopping two. We had a good shooting night all-around.”
Billingsley drained a deep trey in the closing seconds of the first quarter, but Sippial connected from just inside half court on a buzzer beater to put the Lady Pirates on top 14-13 after one quarter. Copeland scored six in the first eight minutes for EBHS.
St. Jude led 23-20 midway through the second quarter, but Billingsley nailed another long triple and Moss converted on a three-point play with 1:39 left in the half to give the Lady Bears a three-point advantage. Sippial then hit a free throw, but Edwards scored back-to-back buckets and Moss found Ca’Neshia Smith for a lay-up to help Edward Bell to a 32-26 halftime advantage.
In St. Jude’s home win over Edward Bell earlier in the year, a third-quarter letdown on defense hurt the Lady Bears. Shealey didn’t want to see that Saturday.
“We had a discussion at halftime, and I told them we can’t let them come out and score 28 points like they did the first time,” Shealey said. “We had to get out and cover them and stop standing and watching. We did that and were able to play offense good enough in the fourth quarter.”
St. Jude scored the first four points, but Copeland offset those with a lay-up and two free throws. With 2:27 left, Billingsley knocked down her third 3-pointer of the night to give Edward Bell its largest lead of the night at eight. Sippial scored seven points in the final two minutes, however, and the Lady Bears led by just one, 42-41, at halftime.
The Lady Pirates put up six in a row before Smith’s three from the top of the key started Edward Bell’s scoring in the fourth. Edwards tied it with two free throws at the 4:37 mark, and after St. Jude went up by one with a foul shot, Moss’ three provided the game’s last lead change.
Edwards went 5 of 6 from the charity stripe down the stretch to help preserve the win. St. Jude was held without a field goal for a stretch of a little more than four minutes in the period.