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44TH DISTRICT GIRLS TOURNAMENTS: Three-pointers help Lady Eagles rally past Berea

Feb. 27—The Lady Eagles (20-9) have been one of the top three-point shooting teams in the state.

They didn't, however, get a lot of good looks from long range in the opening half of the 44th District Tournament semifinals on Tuesday at Alumni Coliseum.

"I knew we would hit some shots, eventually," Madison Southern coach Josh Curtis said. "We were just a little bit tight."

The Lady Eagles certainly shook off those nerves in the second half.

Southern was 5-of-5 from three-point range in the third quarter and surged back to claim a 54-45 win over Berea Community (16-15). The Lady Eagles trailed by two at halftime, but after taking the lead, sealed the win by hitting 18-of-20 free throw line attempts.

Southern moves on to the 44th District Tournament championship game to face Madison Central on Friday at Alumni Coliseum.

Hadley French had 23 points, including a 12-for-12 performance at the line, and also hit 3-of-5 three-pointers. Bailey Hensley had nine points and six rebounds.

Southern — which is currently second in the state in three-point shooting percentage (38.2%) — was 8-of-13 from behind the arc.

Berea Community was 11-of-22 from three-point range. Sophie Brewer had 19 points (5-of-9 threes) and Miranda Thacker had 12 points (4-of-8 threes).

Southern eighth-grader Cami Duerson hit a pair of three-pointers in the first half for Southern. Eighth-grader Briana Hensley connected twice from long range in the third quarter.

"I trust my teammates," French said. "I knew (Cami and Briana) were going to step up and hit their shots. They came in and were ready to go."

Southern had a three-point lead after the first quarter and pushed ahead by as much as six points — twice. The Lady Pirates responded by scoring the final eight points of the second quarter.

Berea went into halftime with a 15-13 advantage after a three-pointer by Abbigail Beard.

In the first half, neither team was assessed a personal foul and no free throws were attempted.

"We came into the locker room and we just told ourselves that we were going to be OK," French said. "We just needed to get it together and play together. We came back out and knocked down shots."

A three-pointer by Laci Sandlin put Southern up by eight with 3:27 left in the third. French's third three-pointer of the game put the Lady Eagles up 34-25.

Berea never got any closer than five points the rest of the way.

Bailey Hensley and Duerson finished with six points each. Ashlan Estep had five points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Sandlin had five points.

Beard finished with seven points, four assists and three rebounds for Berea. Kadence Stepp had four points and six rebounds. Maddy King had three points and seven assists.

Southern shot 45.2 percent from the field, while the Lady Pirates shot 50 percent (16-of-32).