By Melissa Meador
SMITHVILLE – Hatley and Hamilton are used to playing each other on the way to the Monroe County tournament girls’ championship.
On Friday, Hatley avenged a loss in last year’s semifinals by downing Hamilton 60-40 to move on to play Aberdeen for the tournament title today.
“Shots were falling for us tonight, and forcing turnovers was the difference in the game,” Hatley coach Terry Walters said. “They got in foul trouble, then got tired and the combination of that made us pick up our game.”
The two teams exchanged the lead several times early, but a pair of three-pointers from Kristen Cummings gave Hatley a 14-11 lead at the end of the first.
After the Lady Tigers opened up a double-digit lead, Dessheyonna Danner’s layup to close the first half brought it to within 29-20.
A 6-0 run aided by a pair of baskets from Madison Seals put Hatley up 36-25 in the third, and Hamilton was only able to close to within 11 points midway through the fourth on a Myiah Dobbs bucket.
Abby Cantrell had a game-high 18 points for Hatley, while Briana Dobbs finished with 14 and Megan Ballard scored 10. For Hamilton, Drucilla Blevins led with 13 points, while Danner and Sarah Garvin picked up 10 points each.
“Turnovers and missing wide open layups has been our downfall,” Hamilton coach Sue Verner said. “We had a lot of unnecessary turnovers because we were in too big of a hurry. It’s a product of being young.”
(B) Aberdeen 76, Hamilton 52: Aberdeen stretched its lead to double digits midway through the second quarter on a three-pointer from Nick Simms and moves on to play Smithville in today’s boys’ championship game.
Tylan McMillian and Derrell Carouthers each scored 18 points for Aberdeen, while Marcus Carouthers chipped in 11 points. Hamilton also had three in double figures led by Daniel Washington’s 12 points. Ryan Roberts and Dominique Dobbs scored 10 points each.