By Ben Griffin
For the TimesDaily
THARPTOWN — Freshman Kyra Agnew found Kalyn Davis underneath the goal for what proved to be the winning points with 11 seconds remaining, as Shoals Christian ousted Tharptown in a 53-51 thriller to continue its improbable postseason run.
“We’ve been beaten so badly this year by so many teams,” Shoals Christian coach Carl Bullard said. “The last half of the season we just got tired of it. There is nothing like the courage that these kids have shown. I have been with them for four years now and I can’t tell you how hard these girls have worked. The just find a way to get it done and tonight they did it.”
Lacey Lindley finished with a game-high 26 points for the Flame to propel the team to its first-ever regional tournament appearance next week at Wallace State-Hanceville.
The win adds to an unexpected run for the Flame, who downed third-ranked Covenant Christian in the semifinals of the Class 1A, Area 16 tournament.
“It’s amazing.” Lindley said. “We’ve worked so hard for this over the last two years. We knew our time was now.”
Shoals Christian (12-14) trailed 11-7 after the first quarter with Lindley doing all of the scoring. Danielle Creasy’s five points sparked Tharptown (19-8) to the early lead.
Tharptown’s Brooke Daniel provided a spark off the bench scoring 6 of her team-high 14 points in the quarter. A free throw by Kassy Baker with three minutes left in the half gave Tharptown the game’s largest lead at nine points. Agnew and Lindley each added of pair of 3-pointers for the Flame to trim the lead to 27-23 at the break.
The Flame claimed their first lead with a 10-3 run to open the third quarter before Kamri Sears scored five points in a 30-second span to give Tharptown a 44-41 lead after three quarters.
Neither team led by more than three points in the fourth quarter
A steal by Agnew and pass to Lindley gave Shoals Christian a 50-49 lead with under two minutes to play. Sears connected on a
five-footer with 48 seconds left as Tharptown recaptured the lead. With the final seconds ticking down, Agnew lobbed a pass inside to Davis who banked home the game winner. She added a free throw seconds later for
what proved to be the winning margin. Tharptown’s desperation shot at the buzzer
was short, sending Shoals Christian to the regional.
Grace Matthews added 11 points for the Flame, all of which came in the second half.
Daniel led Tharptown with 14 points and Sears added 13 .