The Lady Eagles’ quest for a fifth straight trip to Montgomery begins today in the Class 2A, Area 11 Tournament at Sumiton Christian School.
Three games are set for today in the two-day tournament. The top two teams advance to the Northwest Regional Tournament at Vestavia Hills next week. From there, the top two teams earn a spot in the state tournament.
Sumiton Christian is the odds on favorite in the area tournament. Over the last two seasons, the Lady Eagles are a perfect 12-0 in area play.
The tournament opens at 10 a.m. with No. 2 seed American Christian Academy playing No. 3 seed Cold Springs.
Sumiton Christian plays No. 4 Oakman at noon and the two winners meet at 2 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament. Three games will be held on Thursday with the championship game set for 2 p.m.
Sumiton Christian (42-15), ranked No. 2 in 2A for the entire season, enters the game coming off a 2-2 finish in the Hoover Tournament over the weekend. The Lady Eagles beat Clay-Chalkville and Oxford on Friday before falling to Thompson and Oak Mountain on Saturday.
Despite the finish, coach Jessica Aderholt likes the way her team is playing going into today’s tournament.
“I think we’re playing as a team. We’ve started to come together. The girls are picking each other up,” Aderholt said.
“There are always butterflies going into the playoffs. I’m both nervous and excited. You have to play well every game. If you have one bad game, it puts you in a tough position. We are going to go one game at a time and stay relaxed.”
Sumiton Christian is coming off a third-place finish at the state tournament last season behind state champ Hatton and runner up Lexington. The Lady Eagles won the 3A state title in 2010.
The Lady Eagles aren’t the only No. 2 team in the state to open area tournament play today.
At Parrish, the Lady Tornadoes host the 1A, Area 9 Tournament beginning at 9 a.m.
Hubbertville takes on Pickens County at 9 a.m. while Berry plays South Lamar at 10:30 a.m.
Parrish plays its first game at noon vs. the winner of the Hubbertville-Pickens County game. An elimination game will be played at 1:30 and the two winners play at 3 p.m.
Three games are scheduled for Thursday with the championship game set for 4:30 p.m.
“I think we are peaking at the right time,” Parrish coach Heath Burns said. “We are pitching well, playing defense well and hitting in key situations. We are doing a lot of things well right now.”
Parrish (41-5) advanced to the regional tournament last year before being eliminated by eventual state runner up South Lamar.
The Lady Tornadoes have lost just two games since Burns took over as head coach midway through the season.
“I’m pleased with how we’ve played,” Burns said. “Coming into the area tournament we took three days off and went at it the last two days. We’ve had two really good days of practice. We looking forward to getting out there.”