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January 24, 2013

PREP BASKETBALL: Cold Springs' JV girls win battle of defenses, advance to championship (PHOTO GALLERY)

HANCEVILLE — West Point already has its ninth-grade boys heading to Championship Saturday, but top-seeded Cold Springs made sure its junior varsity girls wouldn't follow suit, defeating the Warriors 37-18 at Wallace State's Tom Drake Coliseum.

With both teams struggling to muster much offensive production throughout Thursday's contest, the Eagles and West Point were forced to turn to their defenses. Luckily for Cold Springs' coach Tammy West, that unit came to play, constantly frustrating the Warriors, causing mistakes and converting them into points.

“We played really hard, played pretty good defense, and I think our press forced a lot of turnovers,” West said. “We were able to not allow them a lot of shot opportunities.”

Though it didn't wind up winning, West Point made the Eagles work for every point they scored. The Warriors covered up Cold Springs shooters Hannah Watson and Bailey West early on, making a few other Eagles rise to the occasion. After Watson knocked down two 3-pointers to give Cold Springs its first — and last — lead, Kaleigh Merring, Destiny Campbell, Emme Willoughby and Rilee White worked together to give the Eagles a cozy 23-9 cushion by halftime.

“We didn't shoot the ball very well at all and had 15 turnovers,” Tammy West said. “We just had trouble getting open tonight, and then when we were open, we just couldn't hit the shots. But we shot a lot and created a lot of shots.”

Willoughby led a balanced scoring effort for Cold Springs with 10 points, while White just barely missed out on a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. Watson posted eight points; Bailey West, five; Merring, three; and Campbell, two.

Lexie Burdette's six points were tops for West Point. Emily Johnson and Tess Hembree chipped in four points apiece, Olivia Vandenburg scored three and Daeshia Smith had one.

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