Northwest Regional Preview

Thursday, Feb. 20 4A Semifinals 3 p.m. – Locust Fork (19-9) vs. No. 5 Priceville (26-4)

The Lady Hornets were the runnerup to Oneonta in Area 13. Locust Fork lost to Oneonta three times this year but gave the Lady Redskins all they win in a 45-43 loss in the area final two weeks ago. Locust Fork defeated J.O. Johnson 61-44 in last week’s sub-region game. The Hornets got a great game from senior forward Kasi McMillian, who scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds. Freshman Ashlyn Adkins added 15 points. Senior guard Kristen Cox leads the team with 11.5 points per game while McMillian is averaging 9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. Barbara Roy’s team is averaging 52 points per game while giving up 41 per outing.

Priceville is the Area 15 champion and the Lady Bulldogs came in at No. 5 in the final poll of the year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA). The Lady Bulldogs have played a decent schedule with quality wins over Good Hope, West Morgan, Danville, Hatton, and Hartselle. Head coach Terrie Nelson has a squad with some size – four players on the roster at 5’9 or taller – but the most dangerous scorer for Priceville is one of the smallest. Senior guard Jada Beverly (5’2) went over the 1000-point mark earlier this year and she is a 3-point threat. She had five 3-pointers and 23 points in the 71-51 sub-region win over Central- Florence last week. Senior center Emilee Cunningham (5’10) had 13 points and seven rebounds in the subregion. Priceville hit 26 of 31 free throw attempts in last week’s win.

Common opponents – None 6 p.m. – Rogers (17-15) vs. No. 1 Oneonta (29-6)

Rogers is the champion of Area 16. The Lady Pirates were lucky to get out of the sub-region after trailing East Lawrence by five with four minutes to play. Rogers scored 13 points down the stretch on the strength of five steals to get the win. Coach Shelley Brown has a deep team (14 on the roster and as many as 11 play regular minutes) without a real star. In last week’s win, junior guard Lindsay Hamner (5’5) led the team with 17 points while Morgan Killen (5’5, Jr) had 13. The Pirates have played a solid schedule but better teams (Lauderdale County, Lexington, Brewer) have handled them. The Lady Pirates have a little bit of size (a pair of 5’11 post players) but athletic forwards have given them all kinds of problems.

Oneonta is the champion of Area 13 and the Lady Redskins were ranked No. 1 in Class 4A from the first poll of the year. After surviving tough area final against Locust Fork, the Lady Redskins blasted Ardmore 81-38 in last week’s sub-region game. Oneonta is led by senior forward Destiney Elliott (5’11) but she has plenty of help. Elliott scored 17 last week but Oneonta also got 17 from Abby Blackwood (5’10, Sr) and 15 from Maddie Boyd (5’10, Sr). Locust Fork hurt Oneonta with dribble penetration and Rogers will look to do the same with Hamner and Killen – both are very good ball-handlers. The Lady Redskins have been very good on defense over the last couple of years and good enough on offense.

Common opponent – Brewer

Brewer beat Rogers 65-31 at the Danville Thanksgiving Tournament. Oneonta split with Brewer – winning 54-40 at home but losing 66-42 at Brewer.

The winners will meet Saturday, Feb. 22, at 3:40 p.m. for the region championship. The winner of that game will advance to the Final 48 next week at the BJCC. The Northwest Region winner will play the South Region winner Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m.