Hathaway one step away, Hornets reach state championship
Madison Suire provided the offense and Brea Baca-White handled the defense as Hathaway earned a return trip to the Class B state championship game with a 46-34 win over Bell City in a semifinal at Burton Coliseum.
The Hornets (23-3) finished as state runner-up last season.
Suire scored Hathaway’s first 10 points of the game and had 18 points and 11 rebounds in the first half as the Hornets controlled the game from the outset, building a 15-5 lead in the first quarter and leading by as many as 23.
Beca-White helped contain Bell City’s standout guard Josie Ogea, who had scored a total 46 points in Bell City’s past two wins.
Ogea finished the game with 12 points.
“We wouldn’t have won without Brea,” Hathaway head coach Courtnee Young said. “Ogea is an outstanding player. I told Brea we had to face-guard her from the time she got off the bus.”
The loss ended a Cinderella season for No. 13 Bell City (17-8), which beat the fourth and fifth seeds to earn its first trip to the state tournament since 1990.
Emma Merritt had 9 points, 18 rebounds and 6 blocks for the Bruins.
“We had a great group of girls, they worked hard and we had a great season,” Bell City head coach Tracy Fontenot said. “It was a great experience for the kids. I hope these seniors rub off on the other players, they were tremendous.”
Suire finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Chloey Guidry added 13 points and 8 rebounds.
Ogea scored nine points fo fuel an 11-0 fourth quarter run by the Bruins, who allowed only three points in the final quarter.
Hathaway lost to Fairview in last year’s championship game. The Hornets will enter the championship game on a 10-game winning streak.
Kirk Meche / Special to the American Press