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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2007
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Lawrence can't derail Deshler
Defending champions improve to 33-0, ending Lady Red Devils' season

By Brooke Milam
bmilam@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

HANCEVILLE — With the unenviable draw of playing undefeated and top-ranked Deshler in the Northwest Regional semifinals, Lawrence County's girls basketball team knew exactly the kind of competition it was up against.

"They've got a very good team, and we knew that coming in," Lawrence County coach Kenny Coffey said. "At times, we did a good job handling the pressure, and at times we didn't."

Lawrence County had the challenge of trying to unseat six-time defending regional champions.

Perhaps appropriately, the Lady Red Devils won six straight regional crowns before Deshler began its reign.

The streak continues. Deshler beat Lawrence County 80-66, advancing to play Haleyville in the regional finals Saturday at 12:20 p.m.

Haleyville was a 64-48 winner over East Lawrence on Thursday morning.

Deshler remains unbeaten at 33-0, while Lawrence County finished its season at 28-5.

"It basically came down to they're a lot deeper, a lot stronger and a lot more physical," Coffey said.

Deshler got off fast, beginning with a 9-0 scoring run to open the game.

The Lady Tigers were ahead 24-11 after the first quarter, but Lawrence County matched the intensity in the second quarter, outscoring Deshler 21-19.

Lawrence County's Nakia McDaniel cut Deshler's lead to 36-21 two minutes before halftime with a 3-point bucket that Deshler's Ashleigh Jackson immediately matched.

Jackson put up 19 first-half points and finished the game's high scorer with 26, while grabbing five rebounds.

Another 3-pointer by McDaniel sliced Deshler's lead to 12 points with a minute to go in the first half, and McDaniel drained a trey at the halftime buzzer that pulled Lawrence County within 43-32.

"Our perimeter game was good," Coffey said.

McDaniel finished with 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and also had three steals,
while teammate Jasma McDonald also scored 17 with a team-high seven rebounds and four steals.

Sallie Burch led Lawrence County in scoring with 19.

"Lawrence County is a really scrappy team, that's their style of play," Deshler coach Jana Killen said.

Lawrence County stayed within striking distance in the second half.

Deshler never led by more than 15 points in the third quarter, but rebounding hurt the Lady Red Devils.

The Lady Tigers outrebounded the Lady Red Devils 54-25 in the contest, and the second-chance points were more than Lawrence County could overcome.

Deshler's Hope Davidson had 11 rebounds to go along with 14 points, while teammate Courtnei Bowens grabbed 11 rebounds and had 11points.

Birdie Bowens scored 21 points with nine rebounds for the Lady Tigers.

Deshler led 61-48 after three quarters.

"I thought it was a good game, I thought we played hard and Lawrence County did too," Killen said. "It was just a good game."

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