It got a little too close for Montgomery Academy’s comfort Tuesday afternoon.
The Eagles nearly blew a double-digit lead before escaping with a 51-43 win over Aliceville in the AHSAA Class 3A Central Regional semifinals at Alabama State’s Acadome.
“It got a little hairy when it started getting close,” Montgomery Academy coach Barry Fencher said. “We lost our composure a little bit, but we still won.”
Down 11 points in the second half, Aliceville (18-4) rallied back and had a chance to pull within two late in the game, but missed multiple shots right at the rim after a missed free throw. The Yellow Jackets lost despite forcing 36 turnovers and scoring 22 points off them.
“It was a faster game than we’re used to playing,” said guard Kayla White, who posted team highs points with 12 and rebounds with 18, a game high, for Montgomery Academy. “They got to every ball quicker than we did.”
Caroline Kirkham and Jade Brooks each added 11 points for the Eagles (25-6), who will play Midfield in Thursday’s 5 p.m. regional final at ASU. The Patriots beat Prattville Christian, 50-41, in the first semifinal.
“PCA played them better than I thought they would,” Fencher said. “I feel good about our chances against Midfield. “I know they’re real athletic and played a lot of bigger schools. The record that they have is very deceiving. We’re not taking them lightly.”
Midfield (12-21) scored 23 points off 26 turnovers committed by Prattville Christian.
“I really thought we did a decent job considering their pressure,” Prattville Christian coach Jason Roberson said. “I think the difference was their size and physicality. We knew they were big and strong and a very physical team. We had to match that and in the first half, we sort of did. We were right there in the rebounding war and it got away from us there in the second half.”
Jemeriah Moore, a seventh grader, posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Midfield. She also had a game-high five steals.
“I read how they throw the ball,” Moore said. “I read their eyes, too.”
Senior Elisabeth Kelley led Prattville Christian with 11 points, but played through an ankle injury and Midfield’s concentrated effort to stop her.
“We decided, hey, let’s go ahead and take No. 3 out of the game,” said Midfield coach Charles Thomas about Kelley, a 1,000-point scorer. “I think they kind of live and go by her.”
Midfield’s Dionnika Moore (24) grabs the ball as Prattville Christian’s Elisabeth Kelley (3) drives to the basket in AHSAA Central Regional action at the ASU Acadome at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Ala. on Tuesday February 17, 2015.