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Bobcats: one win away from Final Four
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Friday, February 16, 2018

By Bart Moss / For the FCT

After a sluggish start of the game, the Phil Campbell Lady Bobcats found their mojo and went on to take down the Mars Hill Panthers 55-46 in the semifinals of the Northwest Regionals Thursday night.

The Bobcats are one win away from a trip to the Final Four in Birmingham. The only obstacle in their way is a Cold Springs team the Bobcats beat by double-digits in a Thanksgiving tournament in November. The Bobcats will play the Eagles at 3 p.m. Monday.

“We are taking this one game at a time, and we are going to focus on nothing but Cold Springs from now until Monday,” said Phil Campbell head coach Craig Thomas. “We have them on film and know how we match up.”

The Lady Bobcats made their way to the regionals because of a relentless full court pressure defense.  Thomas said he was concerned, however, about how his team would react to a team that forced them into playing half court.

“We practiced a lot of half-court offense and put a lot of emphasis on moving the ball around, getting the ball to the middle and feeding the ball inside,” said Thomas.

And it worked. Junior Abby Davis, who had trouble scoring early on, finally started hitting some shots in the second quarter and took over the game in the third quarter. Davis scored 14 of the Bobcats’ 16 third quarter points.

Thomas said he was especially pleased with the defensive play of his senior point guard, Darby Elliott.

“Darby had the toughest assignment on the court,” explained Thomas. “She had to stop their best player – Steadman. She was our main concern, and Darby and Kallie (Allen) did an outstanding job on her.”

Anna Steadman led Mars Hill with just 11 point

Mars Hill raced out to a quick 8-2 lead over the Bobcats in the first quarter, but Dakota Elliott hit three straight shots, scoring seven points and pulling Phil Campbell back to within a point, 10-9. Allen sank a three from the corner to give the Bobcats a 12-10 lead with 00:39 to go in the quarter.

Mars Hill, however, regained the lead on two free throws and a three-pointer to close out the quarter, giving the Panthers a 15-12 lead.

Phil Campbell reclaimed the lead, 16-15, early in the second quarter on a jumper by Davis. Mars Hill, however, hit a three-pointer with just under three minutes to play in the half to tie the game at 21-21.

Phil Campbell took the lead for good with 1:20 to go in the half on a three-pointer by Davis from the corner to make the score 24-21 at halftime.

Davis scored the first 10 points of the third quarter for the Bobcats and 14 of 16 of the team’s points in the third quarter. The Bobcats extended their lead to 40-30 by the end of the third quarter.

The Panthers clawed their way back, pulling to within two points midway through the fourth quarter, but that was a close as they could get. Phil Campbell began to slow the game down and run some clock, forcing the Panthers to foul.

Phil Campbell dominated the boards, out-rebounding Mars Hill 47-33. The Bobcats hit 35 percent of their shots to the Panthers’ 28 percent.

Davis led the Bobcats with a double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Allen followed with 10 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Darby and Dakota Elliott scored eight points each. Freshman guard Kaitlyn Mills added four points and Chloe Roberson two points. Roberson fouled out of the game with just under six minutes to go in the game.

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