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Sumter Central girls come up just short


Valley's Alexia Huguley (22) and Valley's Brianna Davidson (52) block Sumter Central's Shaquala Bryant (10) during the first half of a game at the AHSAA 2013 5A girls central regional basketball championships in Montgomery. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter | Tuscaloosa News)


 MONTGOMERY | Alexia Huguley sank a free throw with 5.7 seconds left to give the Valley girls basketball team the lead, and Audrianna Walker made it stand up.

Walker came up with a steal, and Valley defeated the Sumter Central Lady Jaguars 65-64 Tuesday in the Class 5A Central Regional.

Sumter Central (21-8) tied it at 64 when Denetria Ruffin scored with an offensive rebound. Walker missed a shot, but Huguley got fouled after grabbing the offensive rebound. She missed the first free throw but made the second.

Sumter Central’s Khadijah Thomas dribbled the ball into the frontcourt, where Walker reached in to knock it loose.

"I was scared to go for it, but then again I knew I had to get a stop for my team," Walker said.

Sumter Central coach Eddie Jackson said his team practiced "5-second plays" every day.

"Just get the ball and go straight to the basket, hoping we’ll get a foul or make a layup," Jackson said. "It’s been in (Thomas’) hands all year. She was going straight to the goal. The ball just slipped out of her hands. They just made a good play.

"I told my kids the only thing we wanted in the fourth quarter was a chance to win. We’re undersized. We don’t have a player over 5-8, but we’re going to fight to the finish."

Shaquala Bryant led the Lady Jaguars with 18 points and 13 rebounds, 10 on the defensive end.

"She played terrific," Jackson said. "I thought she gave me everything she had today."

Ruffin had 16 points and six rebounds. Thomas had eight points, and Sarabi Johnson and Asia Maye each scored seven. Courtney Harris finished with six points.

Walker scored 17 points for the Lady Rams (28-2). Huguley had 15 points, and Brianna Davidson scored 13.

Valley trailed 39-26 in the third quarter but cut it to 44-41 by the start of the fourth quarter. The final period featured five lead changes and five ties.

 

Reach Andrew Carroll at andrew.carroll@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0223.