- Cullman, Alabama

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November 14, 2013

PREP BASKETBALL: Fourth-quarter surge propels Vinemont girls over Saints; boys complete sweep

VINEMONT — Vinemont’s varsity girls squad was a mere eight minutes away from starting its season with two straight losses.

Katie Speer, however, had other plans in mind.

The senior guard dished out eight of her game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Eagles (1-1) erase a double-digit deficit and come away with a hard-fought 47-42 victory over St. Bernard on Thursday evening.

“Katie worked really hard out there for us,” Eagle coach Lance Lay said following his team’s triumph. “She was the difference in the game tonight. She outhustled everybody out there.”

For three quarters, it seemed as though the Saints (1-3) were well on their way to picking up an easy win, as both Zoie Wilson and Katherine Gamble were terrorizing the interior of the Eagle defense, while limiting Vinemont’s offense on the other end of the court.

Leading 23-19 coming out of halftime, St. Bernard scored 12 of the next 18 points in the contest to grasp an 11-point lead with a little more than six minutes remaining in the game.

Enter the Eagles’ Syndey Wallace.

She knocked down two 3-pointers around another trey from teammate Autumn Barnette to suddenly cut the deficit to just three points.

“It was hard to get points tonight,” Lay said. “Those two big shots from Sydney really helped us out from there.”

Vinemont wasn’t done there, either, as Casey Westmoreland scored a layup at the four-minute mark to give her team its first lead since the opening basket of the contest.

From there, it was simply a matter of making free throws — Wallace made two and Speer added three to go along with a game-sealing layup with less than 10 seconds on the clock.

“Getting that first win is always a relief every year,” said Lay, whose team garnished its victory by outscoring the Saints 25-11 in the fourth quarter.

Along with Speer, Wallace netted 10 points for the Eagles, while Barnette garnered seven. Westmoreland and freshman Zoe Thomas were each good for six as well.

Wilson was the top scorer for St. Bernard with 17 points to go along with a number of rebounds. Other Saint contributors included Gambrill, 10 points; Alli Messick, six; and Zana Wilson  and Michayla Brown, four apiece.

Vinemont will travel to West Point on Friday, while St. Bernard will hop on a bus to Whitesburg Christian on Monday.

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