By Kedrick Storey
PINE GROVE – Anna Fryar scored 16 points, Aliyah Akins added 14 and the Pine Grove Lady Panthers limited the Brooks Lady Tigers to just one bucket in the third quarter to win their Class 1A North Quarterfinal 47-38.
The Lady Panthers (27-6) will face the Ashland Lady Blue Devils, Friday at 6 p.m. with a ticket to Jackson on the line.
“It’s exciting and it’s big, but no game will be bigger than Friday,” said Pine Grove coach Katie Bates, who is now 18-2 in North Half Tournaments since 2009. “You can pat yourself on the back for right now then you have to turn around and kick yourself in the butt and get ready to go tomorrow.”
The Lady Panthers, who trailed 10-7 after one quarter, got back-to-back low-post buckets from Akins for a 13-12 lead early in the second. Anna Dixon hit consecutive 3-pointers to put Pine Grove ahead 21-15 with 2:56 to play until halftime.
Brooks trailed just 25-23 at the break but a stronger defensive effort by Pine Grove in the second half put them in control for good. They forced Brooks into bad shots and snagged every rebound. Brooks didn’t make a basket until the 1:12 mark of the quarter and had three turnovers.
Akins hit three more buckets in the quarter to push Pine Grove’s lead to 33-25 to start the fourth. Fryar scored six points in the fourth and Leslie Hopkins sealed the win making seven free throws in the final two minutes.
(G) Ashland 78, Coldwater 49: The Lady Blue Devils sprinted to a 12-4 lead in the first two minutes of their Class 1A semifinal and never looked back. They lead 32-12 after one quarter and 47-20 at halftime.
Ashland (26-4), last year’s 1A North runner-up, got 22 points from senior guard Alontra Tucker, 14 in the first half. Jaliyah Godwin added 13, while Dorliyah Clardy and Dametris Andeson each added 12.
Brooklin Polk had 15 for Coldwater.