Making history: Westminster cruises past Talladega County in Sweet Sixteen
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
MONTGOMERY–The Westminster Lady Knights have once again made history in the 2016-17 basketball season. The Lady Knights are Elite Eight bound for the first time in school history after cruising past Talladega County 49-16 in the 1A girls Regional Semifinal round on Friday, Feb. 17.
This game got out of hand quickly as Westminster played stifling defense to force tough shots for the Lady Tigers.
Westminster held a 16-6 halftime lead and struggled to score in the second quarter but Talladega County also had trouble finding the bottom of the net.
The Lady Knights heated up offensively in the third quarter and outscored the Lady Tigers 21-3 while shooting 75 percent from the floor. Westminster took a 37-9 lead into the fourth quarter in large part because of the success in the transition game.
Freshman Morgan White had an outstanding game totaling 26 points on 12-15 shooting inside the arc, two assists and three steals to lead Westminster.
“Our transition game was really good,” Westminster head coach Dana Gache said. “We were able to push the ball up the court and finished a lot more in the second half than we did in the first half. We’re a pretty young team. We start two freshmen, two sophomores and one junior and we don’t have any seniors. The thing that makes us so strong is just about every game we have a different high scorer. It’s been a great run for us. It’s school history to win the area championship and to win today in the Sweet Sixteen and we hope to keep that going.”
The Lady Knights held Talladega County to just four made baskets the entire game. The Lady Tigers were 3-52 shooting from inside the arc and 1-21 from the 3-point line. Talladega County also committed 19 turnovers in the game.
“Defense is probably a bigger emphasis for us than offense,” Gache said. “I was very pleased with the way we were shifting and they’ve got a couple of good shooters and we were focusing on where they were on the court.”
As far as playing in a larger setting in the Dunn-Oliver Acadome on the campus of Alabama State University, White said the bigger gym and crowd did not intimidate her.
“It wasn’t that different because we don’t have a home gym so we play at Samford (Universtiy) so we’re use to the big gym and the atmosphere,” White said. “We’re use to that and it gave us confidence.”
With the win, Westminster improved their record to 19-4 and they will face the winner of the Loachapoka–Cornerstone game in the Elite Eight on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m., back in the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in Montgomery.