After failing to get out of pool play last year, the Lady Patriots didn’t lose a game in the tournament. They beat Danville in the finals after knocking off rival Hartselle, the second-ranked team in Class 5A, in the semifinals.
“We were devastated last year, so we came back determined this year. This is so exciting to get it all,” said junior Riley Northway, who led the Lady Pats with seven kills in the final match.
Brewer junior Savana Flack, who had four kills and two aces in the finals win, said her team is playing as well as it has all season.
“We’re playing well when everybody is talking. We’re all excited, yelling and just having fun,” Flack said.
Brewer coach Ron Smith’s players’ good play started when they beat Danville right before the tournament.
“Danville beat Hartselle the last time they played, and that was a real boost of confidence that we could beat Hartselle,” Smith said.
The Brewer-Hartselle match was one of the most exciting of the tourney with the Lady Patriots winning 25-19 and 26-25. Smith said it was the first time in at least three years that his team had beat Hartselle, the defending county champions.
Danville (32-16) beat West Morgan and Priceville in bracket play to reach the finals, but the Lady Hawks ran into a Brewer team on a roll after beating Hartselle.
Brewer won 25-18 and 25-17.
“We struggled all day, but Brewer came to play,” Danville coach Spencer Cole said. “They made us play bad.”
Northway had two kills and a block to lead Brewer out to an early 10-5 lead in the opening game of finals.
Sydni Shelton, who led Danville with 56 kills in the tournament and five in the finals, tried to keep the Lady Hawks in the match. She had three kills and Kellee Stiles had three kills and an ace, but they could never erase the deficit. Danville got as close as 20-16, but four kills and an ace by Flack closed out the game. Northway’s spike emphatically ended the opening game.
Brewer broke a 6-6 tie in the second game with a 7-2 run. Josie Frost’s kill for the Lady Patriots brought a Hawks timeout with Brewer leading 13-8.
Shelton had a pair of kills and Stiles added one to close within 19-17, but Cheyenne McLemore’s tip in a vacant spot of the floor for Brewer ended the run and the Lady Patriots closed out the win.
Emily Oden’s ace was the game winner to close out the match.
While fans probably noticed Northway and Flack for their dramatic spikes, Cole said McLemore was a huge part of keeping his Hawks from the celebrating.
She had 18 digs and six kills in the Brewer win. Reed Sowder had 13 assists as the Lady Patriots upped their record to 38-9.
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