MONTGOMERY — The Northside Methodist girls basketball team overcame its share of adversity this season.
Friday afternoon, it ran into more adversity in the form of Lee-Scott Academy.
The Knights played the Warriors tough in the opener quarter, but couldn’t sustain the strong play as Lee-Scott dominated the second period and cruised to a 63-45 win in the AISA Class AAA state semifinals at The Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.
The outcome ended Northside Methodist’s final season in AISA play with a 16-12 record. The Knights will play in the AHSAA next season.
“It has been a good season,” Northside Methodist head coach Mike Burch said. “In some ways we weren’t happy with our record, but on the other hand, we have dealt with more adversity than any year I have been here.
“We lost Ashlyn (Simpson) for five games. We lost Kailyn (McMahen) for two games, Kayden (Williams) for two games and several other players. When you lose key players for multiple games, it’s tough and when they came back it wasn’t at full strength. Our conditioning wasn’t what it needed to be.
“But I am proud of the girls. They work hard and they never give up. We had only two seniors (Simpson and Abbey Quattlebaum), so we have a lot coming back.”
Lee-Scott, meanwhile, knocked down the door to the state championship game after three straight semifinal losses. The Warriors face rival Glenwood Saturday in the finals.
“I am glad we got over this Final Four hump,” Lee-Scott head coach Corye Ivatt said. “It has been kind of a block in the road for us the last couple of years, but we were able to get over it and grab the moment today. I am excited for tomorrow. We have one more game to show up for and I can’t wait for it.”
The Warriors opened up a 10-4 lead four minutes into the game and led 15-8 late in the opening quarter, but the Knights fought back behind 3-pointers by Anna Lee Hathcock and Simpson to cut the margin to 17-14 at the quarter break.
Things, though, fell apart in the second quarter as the Warriors outscored the Knights 27-10 to build a commanding 44-24 halftime lead.
The Knights committed nine of their 24 game turnovers in the quarter and Lee-Scott warmed up from 3-point range, hitting five, including four from senior guard Mary Mykal Prewitt, who led the Warriors with 17 points.
Lee-Scott finished with nine 3-pointers overall in the game.
“They shoot the ball as well as anybody I have ever seen,” Burch said. “Those 3-pointers hurt us. It didn’t matter (how we played) because they were picking us off and getting it out. We couldn’t get a moving screen call and they hit the shots.
“We also gave in to their press a little bit in the second quarter and that hurt us too. We have been turnover prone, but it hasn’t been as bad as it was in the second quarter.
Nine Warrior offensive rebounds in the second quarter were also critical as Lee-Scott turned those into 13 second-chance points. Lee-Scott finished with 23 offensive rebounds overall.
Two Simpson baskets and one by Williams powered Northside Methodist to a quick spurt early in the third quarter to slice the gap to 14, but the Warriors finished the final 3:34 on a 6-0 run to take control for good.
Simpson led NMA with 15 points and Lucy Griffin had 12 points.
Lee-Scott’s 5-foot-11 post player Mary Baxley Smith followed Prewitt in the Warrior scoring with 14 points and both Chloe Johnson and Sterling Tucker had 12 points.
Pike Liberal Arts boys 55, Bessemer Academy 41: The Patriots advanced to Saturday’s AISA Class AAA state championship with a 55-41 win Friday over Bessemer Academy.
The Patriots (16-10) face Tuscaloosa Academy in the championship at 7 p.m.
Javon Christian paced Pike Lib in Friday’s win with 21 points, highlighted by five 3-pointers. Austin Cross had 11 points and Drew Nelson 10.
Christopher Workman led Bessemer with 15 points.
Bessemer grabbed an 18-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Patriots seized command in the middle two quarters, outscoring the Rebels 16-5 in the second quarter and 20-13 in the third quarter to take a 48-36 lead to the final period.
Glenwood girls 46, Pike Liberal Arts 24: Pike Liberal Arts 15-game winning streak was halted by Glenwood in the AISA Class AAA state semifinals Friday.
Tiffany Johnson led Pike Liberal Arts with nine points.
The Patriots, who were 7-7 in December, finished the season 22-7.
Glenwood advanced to Saturday’s finals to face Lee-Scott.