This game was originally supposed to be a setup for last week’s big Class 5A Area 11 games with Erwin.
But thanks to some winter weather and wins by the Eagles over both Mortimer Jordan and eighth-ranked Hayden, Monday’s 56-39 Wildcats win over the Blue Devils determined nothing more than who wears the home uniforms in the first round of the area playoffs.
That didn’t stop Hayden from playing like it was for all the marbles, as their transition game was they key to a 15-1 run to start the second half, breaking a 21-21 halftime deadlock.
The Wildcats then withstood a late effort by Jordan, despite going cold at the foul line, hitting just 10-for-23 (43 percent) for the game. They shot just 26 percent from the field as well.
“Our transition really opened it up for us in the third quarter,” Wildcat coach John Simmons said. “We had opportunities to put it away, but didn’t make free throws. We did some things well, some things we didn’t.”
Krista Stricklin and Mallory Ray had hot nights for Hayden, scoring 21 points each. Stricklin also pulled down nine rebounds. Tiffany Ray added seven boards and five steals.
Peyton Davis had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Devils. Brianna Nation also scored 11 points, and Haylie McCleney added 10, including a pair of 3-pointers.
In other games:
Gardendale 34, Mountain Brook 32: Haley Hardman’s rebound and putback at the horn gave the Rockets their first area victory in two years.
Hardman finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Kasey Jones added 10 points.
Corner 44, Fultondale 36: The Yellow Jackets overcame an 11-point halftime deficit by pounding the Wildcats 18-1 in the third quarter.
Preslie Cruce’s 12 points led four Corner players in double figures.
Jakayla Pollard scored 12 for Fultondale.