The Bulldogs are defending champions, having defeated Horseshoe Bend 54-36 in last year’s championship game. The girls championship game this year will be Friday at 6 p.m. The girls consolation contest is set for Friday at 3 p.m.
“It’s a challenge. They’re all committed to work hard. They’re all excited,” Ranburne coach Tim Smith said of his team’s reaction to receiving the top seed.
“The girls always give me a good effort. Sometimes we get off to a cold start but they play hard, play with a passion.”
Ranburne hosted Spring Garden on January and fell 64-31. The Panthers hit nine 3-point baskets for the game. Smith said Spring Garden’s 20-7 lead after one quarter set the tone for the contest.
Hali Wilson had a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs. Indiana Morgan recorded 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Jesse Ralston had five points but was limited by illness. Alyssa Smith grabbed five rebounds and scored two points. Emily Hall netted a pair of free throws for two points. Kat Runels had four rebounds and Hannah Phillips two rebounds.
The loss ended a five-game winning streak for Ranburne but the following night the Bulldogs started a new streak. Playing at Wellborn in a Class 2A, Area 10 game, Ranburne defeated Wellborn 62-33.
Morgan topped the scorers with 16 points on four field goals and an 8-for-8 effort at the foul line – all in the first half. She also made four steals. Wilson, Phillips and Alyssa Smith each contributed 12 points. Phillips added nine rebounds and two assists. Smith also had six rebounds, five assists and two blocks while Wilson had three assists and three rebounds. Runels and Lacey Smith had four points apiece. Runels finished with seven rebounds, four steals and three assists and Smith four steals, two rebounds and two assists. Hall recorded two points, two steals and two assists.
At Heflin Saturday, the Bulldogs downed Cleburne County 48-43. Ranburne led 14-6 after one quarter but just 33-30 after three quarters. Morgan scored nine of her teambest 14 points in the fourth to protect the lead. She also had four rebounds and two assists.
Alyssa Smith had 11 points, seven boards and five blocks. Wilson had nine points, nine rebounds, four steals and one block. Ralston scored eight points. Lacey Smith, Runels and Hall each scored two points. Smith nabbed four steals and five rebounds and Runels had two rebounds.
The Bulldogs picked up their third straight win Monday at Ohatchee in another Area 10 game. Their 49-30 victory sent their area record to 5-1.
“We played three quarters of lights-out defense,” Smith said of the effort that limited Ohatchee to five points in the first quarter, three in the second and one in the third. Morgan had 11 points, four steals and two rebounds.
Lacey Smith scored 10 points and had two steals and two assists. Alyssa Smith scored just two points but dominated the boards with 12 rebounds.
She blocked three shots and had three assists and three steals. Ralston and Phillips tallied eight points apiece. Phillips had four rebounds. Ralston had five steals, three assists and two rebounds. Wilson scored four points.
Randolph County came to Ranburne Tuesday and left on the short end of a 57-25 score as Ranburne improved to 13-6. Ralston netted 14 points, all in the second half. Morgan, Wilson and Alyssa Smith each had 10 points. Smith had eight rebounds and three blocks. Morgan had six rebounds and Wilson had four rebounds and three assists.
Lacey Smith ended with seven points, six rebounds and four steals. Runels had four points and two boards. Phillips recorded two points, five rebounds and a block.
“We didn’t play all that great the first half but we came back and did a good job, held them to two points in the fourth quarter,” said the coach.