By Ronald Frazier
Coach Julie Humphries expects a lot out of her players, and for a good reason. Under her tutelage the Lady Gators have made several trips to the AISA state championship finals and brought home the title banners, including the last two.
So when she says that her 16-5 Lady Gators have room for improvement, you can believe her.
Glenwood took a giant step in defending its area championship by winning two games at home, defeating Springwood Academy on Jan.9 and arch-rival Lee Scott on Jan. 11. And it was a tale of two different contests.
Against the Lady Wildcats on Jan. 9, Glenwood scored the first 11 points of the game and had a 19-point lead at halftime, 39-20. That allowed Glenwood to sub liberally and win the contest against 13-4 Springwood by a 58-39 score.
Quan Holton, the team’s top scorer hit for 22 points before sitting out the third period and JJ Woods came through with 14 points, a season high for her.
“We focused on JJ getting the ball inside tonight and she responded with a great game and was aggressive from the start and Quan was Quan,” Humphries said after the game.
Humphries also praised the Lady Gator bench as they responded with 11 points, led by freshman Payton Corbett with six.
Meanwhile Springwood was left with no scoring options. Only three Lady Wildcats scored in the contest although two of those, Amaya Battle (17) and McKayla Barber (16) were in double figures, mostly against the Lady Gator subs.
In the second area game on Jan. 11 against the Lady Warriors, Quan Holton hit two key free throws in the closing seconds to lift the Lady Gators to a tight 48-45 win over the Lady Warriors.
Holton was also honored in the contest as after she scored the first Glenwood point of the night at the foul line, the game was suspended as she was honored for scoring 2,000 points in her four years of basketball, two at Smiths Station High School and two at Glenwood.
Coach Humphries presented her with a basketball inscribed with the moment, much to the surprise of Holton.
Holton added 21 more points to that first one for her second straight 22-point performance in aiding the Lady Gators to their second area win against Lee Scott (15-7).
Holton, after hitting those winning free throws, drew the assignment of stopping the Lady Warriors leading scorer in the game, Mary Mykal Prewett, who had 17 points and forced her into shooting an air ball on the last play of the game.
Holton got scoring help inside from Morgan Grant, who bounced back from not scoring against Springwood to hitting for 14 points against Lee Scott.
That’s when Humphries pointed out that Glenwood had more work to do.
“I was excited for Quan and excited that we won the game against Lee Scott but I was disappointed in our play,” Humphries said after the contest on the 11th.
“We made mistakes on both sides of the ball that we don’t normally make and we need to go back to work on that.”
“We have to play to win rather than not to lose,” she added.
Glenwood will now be entering its last full week of play before the region tournament starting Jan. 25. The Lady Gators have four games on the docket, starting with Abbeville Christian on Jan. 15, then going on the road for Springwood on Jan. 16 and Lee Scott on Jan. 18.
The Lady Gators will then get to host Tuscaloosa Academy at home on Jan. 20 as a preview to the region tournament the next weekend.