ALBANY — In the back hallway of the Cavalier Arena, the Pelham High School girls basketball team posed for a picture one more time.
Coach Antonia Tookes said winning the region title — the school’s fifth straight — never gets old.
And her team had every reason to celebrate, especially after shrugging off a slow first quarter against defending Class A public school state runner-up Terrell County.
When Pelham found its groove midway through the second quarter, the Lady Hornets never looked back as they drilled the Lady Greenwave 54-20 Saturday night in the Region 1-A Tournament championship game.
“The experience gets better every year,” Mahogany Randall said. “It shows we’re working hard to get here.”
Terrell (20-6) stifled the potent Lady Hornets in the first quarter, holding them to just a pair of baskets while taking a 7-4 advantage. It was the lowest scoring output of the season in the opening quarter for the Lady Hornets.
If Terrell coach Tammye Jenkins Ware could have figured out a way to bottle up her defensive formula, perhaps she could have sold it on the internet for several hundred dollars.
“I don’t know why we started so slowly, but I was happy with the finish,” Tookes said. “We had some subs to eat before the game. Maybe we got some bad sub sandwiches or something.”
The game was tied at eight in the second quarter until Aaliyah Williams drained a trey from the left wing to give Pelham an 11-8 lead. Randall then nailed a 3-pointer, followed by another trey from Williams to ignite a 15-1 run as Pelham ended the half with a 23-9 lead.
“Aaliyah hit that 3-pointer and it really got us going,” Randall said.
It didn’t help Terrell County’s cause that guard Tymia Harvey went down with a knee injury in the first quarter and didn’t return. The Lady Greenwave never seemed in sync after Harvey went down.
The Lady Hornets (26-1) won their 14th straight after dropping their only game of the season to Lowndes by a point on Jan. 10. Tookes said the team’s first goal was to go undefeated, followed by the region title and a state championship.
While the first goal wasn’t achieved, the Lady Hornets captured the second goal with ease and have their sights on their third and final goal.“Hopefully, we’re on the road to that dream,” she said.
Williams and Randall scored 13 points apiece to lead Pelham’s scoring attack. Mahogany Brown and Destiny Thomas scored 12 each. Williams hit three 3-point baskets.
Staysha Allen and Takandris Jordan led Terrell with six points each.