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Hartselle Enquirer

Brewer unable to counter LeFlore's size

By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
BIRMINGHAM - It was business as usual for the LeFlore Lady Rattlers in the Class 5A girls’ state championship game.
Using an inside game dominated by 6-foot Jocelyn Shaw and 6-4 post player Shanece McKinney, the Lady Rattlers posted a 14-point halftime lead and held off a late challenge by Brewer to claim a 68-60 victory Saturday at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.
But with almost half of its roster sitting on the bench with five fouls each, Brewer didn’t have the ammo to make a final run as LeFlore pushed its lead back up to double digits.
Both teams struggled to find a comfortable pace from the game that seemed to be overridden with whistles.
The two teams combined for a incredible 61 fouls and 72 free throws. LeFlore finished 31-of-51 from the free throw line as Brewer struggled with the Lady Rattlers’ size in the frontcourt.
LeFlore used that size advantage to get Brewer into critical foul trouble midway through the third quarter. Kendra Jones fouled out with 1:14 remaining in the quarter on a drive by Bessie Carson.
Heather Steelman joined Jones on the bench less than one minute into the fourth quarter. Krista Hughes and Britney Kent followed suit as the Lady Patriots finished the final minute of the game with just six players.
Shaw and McKinney, using a decided size advantage, combined for 48 points and 22 rebounds as the Lady Rattlers wrapped up their first state championship since 1994.
Shaw had 29 points and 13 rebounds to pace the LeFlore attack. She finished 13-of-15 from the free throw line on her way to tournament MVP honors.
Crawley led Brewer with 20 points after hitting six of her 18 shots from the field. She finished the state tournament with 40 points in two games.
Emily Dabbs added 19 points for the Lady Patriots, while Chelsey Smith finished with a team-high 13 rebounds despite facing inside players three and seven inches taller.
LeFlore used a 14-0 run in the second quarter to stretch a three-point lead to a 31-14 advantage with 56 seconds left in the first half. During the Lady Rattlers’ run, Brewer missed seven straight shots from the field.
The Lady Patriots trailed by as many as 15 points early in the fourth quarter, but a 15-5 Brewer run that was highlighted by 3-pointers from Dabbs and Bromirski cut the Lady Rattlers’ lead to 48-43 with five and a half minutes remaining in the game.
Crawley felt the Lady Patriots start to catch fire as the momentum started to change. Suddenly, Brewer was hitting shots it couldn’t make in the first half when they shot just 31 percent from the field.
Brewer clawed its way back into the game in the fourth quarter, trimming the Lady Rattlers’ advantage to 55-53 on a 3-pointer from Elizabeth Bromirski with 1:56 remaining in the game.
The Lady Patriots never got any closer.

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