Red Bay falls to Woodland in title gamePublished 7:10pm Sunday, March 2, 2014
By Keith Ledbetter
For the FCT
Going into the AHSAA 2A state final, Lady Tiger head coach Donnie Roberts knew he had to get back on defense and try to slow Woodland’s Leah Strain down.
Woodland also had their own game plan that included getting out to a large lead to prevent Red Bay from controlling the game pace.
In the end, Woodland, the #1 ranked 2A girls’ team in Alabama, did just that and came away with a 65-52 state championship win over Red Bay. The win represented their second consecutive 2A title.
The Lady Tigers’ finished a remarkable year with a 32-4 season record that included their second runner-up red map in three years.
“Woodland is a good team,” Roberts said.
“I couldn’t find any weaknesses. Leah Strain is a great player, but she is surrounded by four other great players.”
Roberts said the Tigers’ biggest problem was that they started out in a hole early on.
“We let them make a couple of threes on us and we didn’t block out rebounding on several occasions,” he said. “That caused us to get behind.”
Woodland pulled out to a 19-9 lead at the end of the first quarter on a 15-5 run, and took a 35-17 advantage at halftime.
Trailing 49-34 going into the fourth, Red Bay had a three-minute, 14 point rally to cut the Bobcats’ 21 point lead down to 11.
The run came on baskets from Sparks, and three pointers from Kennedy, Faulkner, and Madden.
“I was proud of our girls for fighting and coming back in the second half,” Roberts said.
“We kind of got back into the game, but that slow start got us.”
Roberts said that the focal point for him and the girls every year is to get back down to Birmingham and play for a state championship, and they did that this year.
Allie Kennedy led Red Bay with 19 points. Kasey Sparks scored 16, Carlee Berry had eight, Jade Faulkner scored five, and Darby Madden had four.