The Eagles fought off countless Marion County rallies before finally picking up a 74-65 at Sumiton Christian High School.
Marion County trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and nine points in the second half, but cut the gap each time.
The Red Raiders never got closer than four points in the final quarter and Sumiton Christian connected on free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
“One of our goals at the beginning of the season was to try to at least get second or third in the area so we wouldn’t have to face the area winner on their home court,” Sumiton Christian coach Bill Griffin said.
“We accomplished that. Now we get to play Lynn and try to beat them to get out of the area.”
Sumiton Christian will take on Lynn in the area tournament at area champion Parrish next month. The loser will see its season come to an end.
On Monday, Marion County kept the game close behind Ready Swanigan and Collin Roberts. Swanigan had 18 of his 30 points in the first half while Roberts had all 20 of his points in the second half. The rest of the Marion County team accounted for 15 points.
Sumiton Christian controlled the game early.
The Eagles (18-7 overall, 5-3 in area play) were up 15-4 after the first quarter and pushed their lead to 18-4 early in the second quarter.
Swanigan scored twice in the final minute of the half to cut the gap to 28-24 and Sumiton Christian’s DeMonte Hobbs drove the lane for a layup at the buzzer to put the Eagles ahead 30-24 at the half.
Marion County notched the game at 35-35 in the third quarter following a pair of Swanigan baskets and a Colton Dennis layup at the 4:17 mark.
Sumiton Christian retaliated with a 9-0 run.
Spencer DeFoor started the rally with a score. Vann Lovelady had four points in the run, including a putback with 2:03 left in the quarter to put the Eagles up 44-35.
Marion County cut the lead to four points at 48-44, but the Red Raiders got no closer.
Sumiton Christian put 26 points on the scoreboard in the final quarter.
For the Eagles, Lovelady led the way with 23 points, Hobbs put in 17 and Austin Bice added 10.
Sumiton Christian is scheduled to host Meek today. Marion County hosts No. 3 Parrish.
The Class 1A, Area 13 Tournament will be held on Feb. 8 and Feb. 10 at Parrish High School.
Sumiton Christian 40, Marion County 37
Kendell Hamm hit four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points as the Sumiton Christian Eagles outlasted Marion County 40-37 in the girls game.
Sumiton Christian (15-8, 3-5) trailed 6-4 after a low-scoring first quarter. Marion County led 20-17 at the half and the teams were tied at 30-30 after three quarters. The Eagles outscored the Red Raiders 10-7 over the final eight minutes to earn the win.
Both Collin Bowen and Anna Fitzgerald had six points for the Eagles while Abbie Brewster added 12 rebounds.
Walker 98, Fayette County 55
Walker was on its game Monday night at Songer Gym.
The Vikings put 65 points on the scoreboard in the first half and knocked down 14 3-pointers in a 98-55 rout of Fayette County. Walker’s long-range has improved as the season has progressed.
“That’s part of the way we play. We want to shoot a lot of 3s because we don’t have a big presence underneath,” Walker coach Rufus McDuffie said.
Following a loss to Tuscaloosa County on Friday, Walker got back on track against the Tigers. The Vikings held a commanding 32-16 lead after the first quarter and they pushed it to 65-36 at the half. Walker (14-8) led 86-51 going into the final quarter.
Aaron Morris paced Walker, knocking down five 3-pointers and finishing with 19 points, Dawson Salors connected on a pair of 3-pointers and had 18 points, Brandon Thursby made three 3-pointers and had 12 points while Kenyatta Woods added 11 points.
Walker plays at Cold Springs today.
Parrish 66, Lynn 33
In a matchup between county champions, Parrish ran out to a 26-8 lead over Lynn and never looked back, beating the Bears 66-33 at Lynn High School on Monday.
Parrish won the Walker County crown on Saturday while Lynn won the Winston County title on Saturday. Parrish (20-2, 7-0) coasted through the final three quarters. The Tornadoes were up 35-19 at the half and 49-29 after three quarters.
Trayvon Chatman paced Parrish with 18 points and six assists, Barry Hill had 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks and Jermichael Harris added 10 points.
Parrish hosts Marion County today while Lynn plays at Berry on Thursday.
Ben Cagle had 17 points while Peyton Moore added nine for Lynn (15-8).
Lynn 53, Parrish 20
Parrish, playing without several starters, failed to score more than seven points in a quarter as Lynn earned the 53-20 win.
Lynn (21-2) was led by both Reagan Tittle and Emma Easley with 18 points. Easley added 12 rebounds, Kelei McGough had six points, Brooke Harris added five, Abbey Terry put in four and Holly Murray had two points.
The Bears 14-7 after the opening quarter and added to their lead throughout the game. Lynn was up 30-12 at the half and 46-16 after three quarters.
For Parrish, Mekya Hill had 13 points.