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February 22, 2013

NORTHWEST REGIONAL TOURNEY (CLASS 2A GIRLS): Smith, Rattlers snake-bite Eagles in 46-39 final

HANCEVILLE — Chloe Harbison was prepared to shoulder the blame for Cold Springs' 46-39 loss to Tanner in Friday's Class 2A Northwest Regional Tournament final, but longtime coach Tammy West wouldn't have it.

“I think I should've drove the basket more. I didn't take all the chances that I could,” the junior forward reeled off shortly after the tough defeat. “I should've hit some shots that I missed. They were giving me chances.”

West had heard enough, stopping Harbison short to chime in with: “You did good. You did good.”

And that's how the coach felt about all of her Lady Eagles. Just one game after gutting out a one-point thriller over No. 5 Red Bay, the Eagles jumped out to a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter before the Rattlers answered with nine unanswered points and sank all 10 of their free-throw attempts in the last four minutes to run away with the region crown.

“I'm proud of them. They did a good job,” the coach said. “They fought hard Tuesday. I thought that was one of our better efforts on the year. I thought we played a real good second half of the season and gained a lot of experience with a relatively young team.”

West credited Tanner's go-ahead run at the end to too many turnovers by Cold Springs and too many key rebounds by the Rattlers. Tanner (15-16) bested the Eagles in both categories in the second half, scoring nine more points off turnovers and snatching six more rebounds than Cold Springs during the 16-minute stretch.

Junior Jasmine Smith was the main Tanner player to thank for those discrepancies. The forward led her squad in points (13) and rebounds (15).

“She did a great job on the boards and with scoring today,” Rattler coach Larry Greene said. “We had to have that in order to win. If we don't get that, we probably don't win this game.”

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