HANCEVILLE — Tammy West treats every single member of the Cold Springs girls basketball team as if they were her daughters. The coach can play the tough-mom role when needed, but mere moments after the No. 7 Eagles pulled off a gutsy 41-40 Northwest Regional triumph over No. 5 Red Bay, West was simply mom — and a proud one at that.
Hayden West, the coach's daughter and one of two Eagle seniors, went 4 for 4 from the charity stripe in the last minute to not only bring her final point total to 14 but propel the small-school powerhouse one step closer to securing a fourth state title.
“This sweet little girl right here is mine. She hit those free throws,” a beaming Coach West said while sitting beside Hayden during the postgame press conference. “Good job, baby. Mama's proud.”
Cold Springs moves on to play Tanner for the Class 2A regional crown on Friday at 3:40 p.m. The winner will head to Birmingham for the Final 48.
The Eagles (22-7) appeared to be well on their way to an easy victory over their top-10 opponent in the first half. Hayden West came out firing with two 3-pointers, Caitlyn Hall did some damage in the post and Chloe Harbison drove to the basket at-will to help the squad jump out to a 20-6 lead midway through the second quarter.
The Tigers (27-4), meanwhile, had trouble connecting on even the simplest of shots, missing at least five second-chance shots from right under the baskets on one of their possessions. They only put up four points in the opening eight minutes and trailed 24-16 at halftime.
“It was just so hard to get my shot off,” Red Bay's Kasey Sparks said of Cold Springs' smothering defensive effort. “It was definitely one of the more physical games because they're so big, and their post players are really good.”