FLORETTE — Thursday’s Class 5A, Area 12 semifinal wasn’t close from the start, but No. 1-ranked Brewer High’s 101-54 win over Scottsboro did have at least one nervous moment.
Well, actually, the word “nervous” isn’t allowed at Brewer’s gym. Patriots coach Ricky Allen never wants his girls basketball players to use it. He said they should say “excited” instead.
So when the defending 5A state champions had a 99-52 lead and the ball with more than a minute to go, they were extremely “excited” about whether they would get triple digits. Before Thursday, nobody on the Brewer roster had experienced a 100-point varsity game.
With the home fans standing, yelling and cheering in anticipation, Brook Childers launched a 3-pointer that rimmed out. Teammate Caitlin Lavender rebounded and missed the putback. She got the rebound again and got knocked to the floor as another putback missed, too.
That put her on the foul line with 1:04 to play, and after missing the first free throw, she made the second to hit the magic number.
“I was so excited,” Lavender said, smiling, perhaps at her choice of word.
“When I hit the ground, I knew I would have a chance. I was so excited.”
Brewer (28-1) will face Columbia at home Saturday night at 6 for the Area 12 championship. If the Patriots win, it will mark their seventh straight area title.
Allen said he didn’t intend for his players to aim for 100. He began clearing the bench with fewer than four minutes left in the third quarter, and the starters didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter.
The reserves didn’t let up. They managed 25 fourth-quarter points, making 11 of 13 foul shots in the final three minutes. Unlike the regular season, postseason games aren’t played with the clock running continuously if one team is ahead by at least 30 points after three quarters.
“You never want an opposing coach to think you’re not considerate of his kids’ feelings,” Allen said. “At the same time, I have to be considerate of my kids’ feelings. ... Those kids work just as hard and want to play just as much. I’m not going to tell them not to hustle. I’m not going to tell them not to shoot the basketball.”
The starters got Brewer (28-1) out to a fast start. Even though Allen said he always is more “excited” for the first area tournament game than any other, his players seemed loose and ready. Within the first five minutes, every starter had hit at least one 3-pointer and Brewer had a double-figure lead at 19-9.
“For them to come out with that much energy and that much enthusiasm, it’s a pretty thing to sit and watch,” Allen said.
Brewer’s Riley Northway finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds, while Rheagan Harvel added 14 points and six assists. Sierra Kinser pitched in 13 points and made five steals.
And Lavender, one of two Brewer seniors along with Harvel, finished with five points and 10 rebounds.
Contact Mark Edwards at mark.edwards
@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2461.
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