The clock struck midnight for the cinderella Priceville Lady Bulldogs in the 4A Girls State Championship game this past Friday at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham.
The Lady Bulldogs fell to the two-time defending state champion Prattville Christian Panthers 76-59 in a match-up dominated by the Panther’s CoCo Thomas and Hannah Jones. The duo combined for 52 points and 31 rebounds in the win.
Priceville fell behind by 15 points, 18-3, with 1:51 left in the first quarter. However, Priceville didn’t back down and closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 18-12. Abby Langlois started the run with three points on a layup and a foul shot. Gracin Prater followed with a layup and Ashlyn Johnson hit a jumper at the buzzer.
Priceville continued their comeback, outscoring the Lady Panthers 9-3 and cutting the lead to 23-21 in the second quarter’s first three and a half minutes. Prattville Christian outscored Priceville 13-8 over the final minutes of the first half to take a 36-29 lead into halftime.
“Priceville has got a tremendous team,” Prattville Christian coach Jason Roberson said. “You can’t take a playoff against the Lady Bulldogs and coach Terrie Nelson. They won’t quit just like they showed in the first half after battling back from an 18-3 deficit.”
Prater led the Lady Bulldogs with seven points at the half, while Leslie Hames had six and Langlois added five.
After a Lady Panther three-pointer started the second half, the Lady Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 39-35 with 5:44 left in the third quarter. However, Prattville Christian took the game over with a 19-5 run to close the quarter, taking a 58-40 lead into the final quarter.
Despite the deficit, Priceville continued to battle with the Lady Panthers in the fourth quarter. They battled back and forth for eight minutes, with the Lady Bulldogs outscoring Prattville Christian 19-18 to make the final score 76-59.
“We don’t have to be discouraged despite the loss,” Priceville coach Terrie Nelson said. “We battled for 32 minutes with a two-time defending state champion. I smiled because I love my team, and nothing will change that.”
Prater finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and five steals to lead Priceville (23-10). Sisters Leslie Hames and Lauren Hames each scored 10 points, while freshman Abby Langlois added nine points, four rebounds and two steals. Ashlyn Johnson had six points and five assists and Carly Jo Nelson had five points.
Langlois was asked about facing the two bigs for Prattville Christian, and she replied, “they were physically stronger than me due to them being seniors, but I knew I had to battle with them as long as I could.”
Prater, Leslie Hames and Langlois were named to the 4A All-Tournament team.
Priceville advanced to the state championship game with a 56-36 win over a thirty-win UMS-Wright team in the semifinals. Leslie Hames led the Lady Bulldogs with 15 points, while Prater had 12 points.