Coosa Valley clinches area title following win over Cornerstone

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA — The Coosa Valley Academy girls’ basketball team has had a difficult time with rival Cornerstone Christian School the past few seasons.

Rebels’ coach Kimbo Rutledge figured it was finally his team’s time to snap a five-game losing streak over the past two years to the Chargers.

Everything seemed to be going as planned in the first half Jan. 21 before Coosa Valley hit a cold-shooting stretch and had to hang on the final minutes for a 55-53 win over Cornerstone.

The Rebels clinched the Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 1A, Region 2 — Area 1 regular season championship with the victory.

“These girls have had a mental block when it comes to Cornerstone,” Rutledge said. “Maybe they finally got the monkey off their back.”

Lauren Archer led Coosa Valley (13-2 overall, 3-0 in AISA Class 1A, Region 2 — Area 1) with a game-high 22 points. Archer, who was one of two Rebels with a double-double, also grabbed 12 rebounds.

Kaylan Rich added 12 points and 14 rebounds. Amelia Ripley, who hit three 3-pointers in the opening quarter, chipped in 11 points.

Jordan Smiley contributed eight points and a team-high 17 rebounds. Terrie Sprayberry finished with two points.

Kailey Goodwin, the Chargers’ lone senior, led Cornerstone (4-10 overall, 0-3 in AISA Class 2A, Region 1 — Area 2) with 20 points on senior night.

Jana Kelbie Armstrong added 16 points. Destiny Dillard contributed 13 points.

Amber Uptain finished with four points.

Ripley’s three 3-pointers in the first quarter helped the Rebels jump out to an early 25-8 lead after the opening period.

Coosa Valley extended its lead to as many as 19 points in the second quarter before taking a 32-15 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Rebels pushed the lead to as many as 27 points midway through the third quarter before Cornerstone caught fire from the floor.

Cornerstone finished the game with a 34-7 run, including a 19-0 spurt. The Chargers hit four 3-pointers during the run and cut the lead down to two points twice in the final minutes.

Cornerstone coach James Lee said the Chargers didn’t plan to go down without putting up a fight.

“We don’t quit,” Lee said. “We’re going to give everything we’ve got.”