Two for Final 4 Lady Eagles make trip

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Shanavia Dowdell scored more than 30 points in both of Calera’s southeast regional games as the Lady Eagles earned their first-ever berth in the AHSAA Final 4.

Dowdell led the Lady Eagles with 36 points, 14 rebounds, eight blocked shots and four steals in the tournament’s championship game Friday at Troy State University.

Calera (18-4) entered the fourth period of the championship game trailing Highland Home, 48-45, but came out blazing in the fourth, outscoring their opponents 21-7 in the final quarter.

&uot;We picked up the defensive intensity in the fourth quarter and that was the difference in winning the game,&uot; said Calera coach Scott Gafford.

The Lady Eagles, who have thrived on strong fourth-period play, needed little encouragement from their coach trailing late in the game, Gafford said.

&uot;I didn’t have to say a whole lot. The girls were pretty much talking to themselves. They believed it wasn’t going to be any big deal to come back and win.&uot;

The victory sent Calera to the Class 2A Final 4 at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center. They were scheduled to play top-ranked Hatton (28-5) yesterday at 4 p.m. Results were not available at presstime.

Gafford said all of his players have stepped up in recent weeks, a key factor in the Lady Eagles’ trip to Birmingham.

&uot;They’ve all

contributed, every single one of them. They’ve all picked it up,&uot; he said.

&uot;Mary Anne Spivey, Jalisa Thomas and Sherriane Allen have all done a good job for us and Courtney Martin has played well defensively.&uot;

Spivey, Allen and Thomas all reached double figures in scoring in Calera’s win over Samson last Tuesday. Thomas had 11 points against Highland Home while Allen scored nine points with six rebounds in that contest.

But the team’s biggest contributer has been sophomore Shanavia Dowdell.

Dowdell had 32 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Eagles in their win over fourth-ranked Samson, setting up Friday’s regional championship game against Highland Home.

&uot;She’s real important to our team,&uot; Gafford said of Dowdell, &uot;not just offensively but defensively as well.&uot;