Lady Bulldogs advance to Elite 8

Susan Moore’s Kaitlyn Hill (11) takes an easy layup against Phil Campbell. -Sherry Abercrombie

Susan Moore’s Kaitlyn Hill (11) takes an easy layup against Phil Campbell. -Sherry Abercrombie

A 45-41 win over Phil Campbell in the Sweet 16 Monday night puts Susan Moore’s Lady Bulldogs back in the Elite Eight for the second straight year. The Lady Bulldogs have only two losses on their 2020-2021 record. Those both came from top-10 6A schools.

They were undefeated in area play en route to first place in 3A Area 13, another Area Championship, and another Blount County Championship. But these Bulldogs have their sights set on a bigger prize.

Coach Natasha Smallwood said, “Our expectations going into this season were to win all the championships we would be playing for – county, area, region, and state. The ultimate goal of our team this year is to reach the final four in Birmingham. This is a goal that has never been reached by our girls’ program at Susan Moore. The team has done a really good job staying humble and hungry to continue working hard to reach all their goals.”

Winning the area tournament gave the Lady Bulldogs another chance to play at home in Sub Regionals. They hosted Carbon Hill and the game was never in doubt as the Lady Bulldogs won 66- 21. That win advanced them to the Sweet 16. It was even sweeter this year with the opportunity to play on their home court.

Monday night Phil Campbell came to Bruce McAfee Gym, and while the score was closer than many of the Lady Bulldog victories, Susan Moore’s 45 points was all they needed to get them back to the Elite 8.

They play Lauderdale County at 2 p.m. today at Wallace State-Hanceville. The winner moves on to Birmingham for the Final Four.

“I am very thankful to just be in this position,” Smallwood said. “Postseason is so much fun. Area tournaments start it, and then it is do or die. Win or go home and let the off season program begin.

“This team means so much to me. They show up every time you ask, they work hard every day, and they love basketball. They are fun to coach and they love each other as a team. I am blessed to be their coach.”