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Lady Eagles snatch area championship at home

The teams had split the regular season series, so it was no surprise that an extra frame was needed to decide the AHSAA Class 2A, Are 5 tournament championship.

The Reeltown Lady Rebels led 50-47 with nearly 10 seconds to play, but Destinie Barnes drilled a three-pointer for the Lady Eagles (8-8) of Goshen to tie the game at 50-50. The Lady Eagles had a chance to win the game in regulation, but the shot did not go.

“Destinie hit that huge shot for us and sent it to overtime,” GHS head coach Lindsey Hornbuckle said. “That was absolutely huge and the game had been such a great game to that point.”

It only got better for the Lady Eagles, as they outscored Reeltown 10-2 in the extra quarter for the area championship victory.

“We never got up more than one or two points all game, so for them to go on that run in overtime was awesome,” Hornbuckle said. “There could not have been a better time for them to go on a run. We just hit so many clutch shots tonight.”

The Lady Eagles were in foul trouble most of the second half and overtime and Hornbuckle said it was only when two starters fouled out that her team really came alive.

Diamond Cottrell fouled out in the third quarter and DeAnna McLeod got her fifth foul in the fourth quarter, but the other Lady Eagles stepped up in the clutch.

“Ivia (Pollard) and Shelby Jo (Vinson) stepped up and played huge for us,” Hornbuckle said. “I am just so proud of how the bench stepped up when we needed them the most. We had girls screaming encouragement from the bench all night. It was so inspirational for me and huge for us as a team.”

Hornbuckle said she would like to thank all the fans that came out in support of the Lady Eagles. She said the team got that extra boost from seeing the supportive fans in the stands.

Niyoka Slater led the Lady Eagles with 12 points. Pollard added 11 points. Barnes and Cottrell each had nine points.

Pollard, Barnes and Slater were named to the All-Tournament team and Slater took home the MVP award.

“I wasn’t able to pick my three and our athletic director had to pick our three because I thought all the girls deserved to be on the team,” Hornbuckle said. “Everybody deserved it because they all had a part in the victory.”

The Lady Eagles will host the loser of the Horseshoe Bend-Lanett game from Area 8 Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in the 3A Sub-Regionals. Horseshoe Bend and Lanett will play in the Area 8 championship game Monday night at 5:30 p.m.

“I am so excited and elated to be hosting a sub-regional,” Hornbuckle said. “We are going to celebrate tonight, but next week we will get back to working hard because we are only one step away from Regionals. I told the girls that this just shows what hard work can do for a team.”