Eufuala drops StanhopeBy Micah Lewter

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 18, 2003

The Eufaula Lady Tigers started their Southeast Region tournament game as if they had never handled a basketball. Stanhope Elmore raced out to a 12-2 lead in the first quarter as Eufuala continued to shoot from three-point range despite not being able to hit anything. Eufaula worked its way back into the game at the end of the quarter to trail by only five at 12-7.

The second quarter was completely different.

Eufaula found a burst of points somewhere and went on a run. The Lady Tigers outscored Stanhope 20-8 to take a comfortable 27-20 lead into the break.

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The Tigers prevailed in the second half, leading by as many as 20 points before winning 61-49.

"We've been down before," Eufaula coach Michael Smith said. "We have been down in the first half of some games this year that we came back and won. I think that made us mentally tough."

Eufaula did not shoot the ball well, but still found a way to score.

Jessica Wooten shot only five-of-16 from the field, but still managed to score 16 points. Kentia Thomas scored 11, but was only three-for-12 from the field.

"We had some underclassmen step up for us," Wooten said.

One of those underclassmen was freshman Jeneane Porter. She was a perfect six-for-six from the field as she scored 16 points.

Eufaula won on the strength of its defense. The Lady Tigers held Stanhope to 34 percent shooting and forced 24 turnovers.

"One thing I stressed to the girls was to have staying power here," Stanhope coach Linda Pruitt said. "We didn't have that staying power today. The better team won."

Twanda Armstrong led Stanhope with 16 points.

Eufaula will play area foe Booker T. Washington in the regional final Friday at 9 a.m. Eufuala won the area tournament championship game the last time the two teams faced each other.