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Glencoe edges Susan Moore 35-31 to reach Class 3A, Area 9 finals

Glencoe’s Laura Poovey takes a shot against Susan Moore during Thursday’s game. (Photo by Dave Hyatt | Gadsden Times)

GLENCOE — Top-seeded Glencoe survived a determined Susan Moore squad and got some big plays down the stretch from Laura Poovey, Jordan Sims and Jensen Napper in defeating the fourth-seeded Bulldogs 35-31 to advance to the finals of the Class 3A, Area 9 tournament Thursday.

Glencoe (18-9) will face Ashville, who defeated Cleveland 54-26, at 6 p.m. Monday in the tournament title game.

The defense-focused contest saw Susan Moore (18-10) leading 19-18 heading into the fourth quarter. The senior-

laden Yellow Jackets rose to the challenge in the game’s final minutes, though, getting big baskets from Poovey and Sims, who also had a late steal, and a pair of steals from the freshman Napper with under a minute remaining to seal the victory.

“When you go a week without playing, you get rusty,” Glencoe coach John Blackwell said. “Plus, I thought Susan Moore did a great job of slowing the game down and making it a game of possession. I think Laura and Jordan both stepped up there at the end. They’re seniors, they’re supposed to do those things, and they did.”

Susan Moore missed a pair of free throws early in the fourth quarter, misses that would come back to haunt them. The teams traded buckets early in the quarter. With the Bulldogs leading 25-22, the Yellow Jackets scored the next five points to take its first lead of the second half, 27-25. A pair of free throws by Poovey at the 2:45 mark put Glencoe ahead by one before a turnover and foul allowed Sally Tinker to hit a free throw and extend the lead.

Peyton Hamby tied the game with two free throws for Susan Moore with 2:12 left. Poovey responded with a short runner and was fouled, hitting a free throw to make it 30-27 with 1:31 remaining. Napper then stole the ball and got it to Sims, whose basket pushed the lead to 32-27 with 1:22 on the clock.

With time running down, Napper and Sims recorded steals that prevented the Bulldogs from getting off shots. Poovey hit three-of-four free thows in the waning moments, while Susan Moore got only a single free throw from Katelyn Williams in the final minute until Adelia Hernandez’s futile 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Yellow Jackets and Bulldogs struggled mightily from the field early on, with each team missing multiple close-range shots. Sims scored the lone Yellow Jacket field goal in the first quarter with 4:42 showing. Susan Moore led 4-2 entering the second.

Glencoe took its first lead of the contest at 8-7 on a Tinker 3-pointer with 2:54 left until halftime. That kicked off the best shooting stretch of the game for Glencoe until the fourth quarter. After a bucket by Hamby, Poovey drained a 3-pointer and Sims sank a shot to give the Yellow Jackets a 13-9 lead at the breaks.

Susan Moore regrouped and took control in the third. A three-point play by Madyson Sloan put the Bulldogs ahead 18-16 with 1:22 left in the quarter. Sims, who pulled down 10 of her 16 rebounds in the third, tied it two free throws, but Hamby’s free throw with 14 seconds left put Susan Moore up heading into the final quarter.

Poovey scored 15 points and Sims had 13 points for Glencoe. Napper made seven steals.

Williams paced the Bulldogs with 11 points. Hamby scored 10 points.

Blackwell believes his team will need to step up its play against Ashville.

“Hit more shots, that’s all there is to it,” he said. “We missed a ton of shots in the first quarter — little shots. We’ve got to score better.”