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February 19, 2013

NORTHWEST REGIONAL BASKETBALL TOURNEY GIRLS PREVIEW: Classes 2A, 5A ready to jumpstart semis

(Continued)

CULLMAN — Class 3A

% No. 2 Lauderdale County (29-5) vs. Winfield (24-6), Thursday at 3 p.m.

% No. 3 Madison Academy (25-8) vs. No. 10 Danville (25-8), Thursday at 6 p.m.

% Lauderdale County: Almost all the key pieces of last year's state championship squad are heading back to Wallace after surviving an extremely tough postseason schedule that included area victories over No. 6 Deshler and No. 1 Mars Hill Bible. The Wallen triplets and Chatara Cox were responsible for knocking out Holly Pond in last year's regional final.

% Winfield: Joseph Wilson's Pirates have flown under the radar up to this late juncture in the season. The unranked squad will ride double-figure contributors Katelyn Kostelc and Allie Gilmer as it looks to shake up one of the toughest regional brackets in the state, regardless of classification or gender.

% Madison Academy: The Mustangs had to fight tooth and nail for their regional berth, just barely ousting top-ranked Mars Hill Bible 45-43 at the sub-regional level. Junior Sierra Jones' 14 points were tops for Madison Academy in the top-five showdown.

% Danville: Sophomore 6-footer Sydni Shelton gives the youthful Hawks a versatile threat in nearly every aspect of the game. Good Hope saw that first hand in a 44-42 loss in the Area 13 championship, as did Cordova in an effortless 59-38 sub-region win. Shelton poured in 16 points versus the Raiders.

Class 2A

% No. 5 Red Bay (27-3) vs. No. 7 Cold Springs (21-7), Tuesday at 3 p.m.

% Sulligent (20-10) vs. Tanner (13-15), Tuesday at 6 p.m.

% Red Bay: The Tigers haven't tasted defeat in 13 contests since Jan. 12. Only two teams have even been able to come within eight points over that time. The last was No. 4 Lexington in Monday's sub-regional battle versus the defending Northwest Regional champs.

% Cold Springs: The Eagles come into regional play having won nine of their last 11 games, including a three-game postseason stretch in which they’ve outscored opponents 221-91. Chloe Harbison and Caitlyn Hall spearhead a balanced offensive attack that can beat teams inside the paint or behind the arc. Coach Tammy West rotates up to 11 players throughout a game, so key reserves Keegan Johnson, McKinnley Davis and others could see quality minutes for Cold Springs.

% Sulligent: Three nights after getting spanked 79-45 by Cold Springs for the Area 14 crown, the Blue Devils put the pieces back together in time to make its way to the Tom Drake Coliseum with a 53-42 final over Altamont. Laura Ashley Dean's 17 points per game led Sulligent to a 20-win season.

% Tanner: The Rattlers can thank a horrible visit from the injury bug at the beginning of the year for their lousy record. All that matters now, though, is that they're still in contention for a state title, which they moved one step closer to earlier this postseason with a 40-38 upset versus Lexington.

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