1A finals don't go Athens Bible's way
Lady Trojans fall in four games to Spring Garden
By Dennis Victory
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PELHAM — Athens Bible coach April Davis struggled to find the right words to describe her emotions following the Lady Trojans' loss in the Class 1A state volleyball championship match Thursday.
One night after the terrific high of beating Kinston, the top-ranked team in the state, the Lady Trojans watched their state championship hopes slip away as Spring Garden turned its third chance at the 1A crown into Blue Heaven.
The Lady Panthers grabbed the title 25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 25-21 and the blue-map state championship trophy at the Pelham Civic Complex.
"I wish it was the blue trophy — I really do," Davis said. "But I'm proud of these girls.
"We won 50 matches and made it to our first final since 2000."
Athens Bible couldn't match its intensity from the semifinal win over Kinston, while Spring Garden (45-7) had something to prove after two previous trips to the finals fell short against Addison, which is now a 2A school.
The two teams split the first two games by identical scores, and the Lady Trojans never got over the hump in the crucial third game. A 9-all tie became a 19-15 Spring Garden lead with the Lady Panthers' front line doing most of the damage.
Tournament MVP Paige Anderson offset four kills from Athens Bible's Christina Ivey late, and Spring Garden won the third game.
The fourth game was close throughout. Athens Bible's Abbie Melvin broke a 20-all tie with a kill, but two kills by Spring Garden's Bridget Parris, an ace from Carly Mitchell and two more kills from Parris gave the Lady Panthers the deciding victory.
The Lady Panthers got 19 kills and four digs from Anderson, while Paris added 17 kills. Hannah Hutcheson provided 44 assists.
Melvin led Athens Bible with 23 kills and 21 digs, while Ivey added 21 kills and five blocks. Athena Hinkle contributed 16 assists.
State volleyball tournament
Seven local schools participated in the state volleyball tournament in Pelham. Here is how far each advanced:
Addison: Class 2A semifinals.
Athens Bible: Class 1A finals.
Danville: Class 3A semifinals.
East Limestone: Class 4A semifinals.
Elkmont: Class 3A semifinals.
Hartselle: Class 5A quarterfinals.
Lawrence County: Class 4A semifinals.
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