MONTGOMERY — Once Mary Mykal Prewett sees the ball splash through the nylon once, it changes everything for the senior guard and her Lee-Scott teammates. It also changes things for their opponents, and not in a good way.
That was certainly the case on Friday in the AISA AAA semifinals against Northside Methodist, as the Warriors sprinted toward a title game showdown with Glenwood by notching a 65-45 win.
“It feels so great,” Prewett said. “It is all I wanted for my senior year.”
The first quarter saw the Lady Warriors build a seven-point lead at 15-6, but the Lady Knights seemed to have the answer for everything Lee-Scott threw at them and cut the Lee-Scott lead to 17-14 after the opening quarter.
Northside Methodist’s answers ran out when it came to Lee-Scott’s sharp-shooting backcourt in the second quarter though. Chloe Johnson got things started on the quarter’s first possession with a triple.
“When our shots are going in, it makes everything easier,” Lee-Scott coach Corye Ivatt said.
Johnson tried another 3-pointer on the next possession but missed. The long rebound and ensuing scramble eventually ended with the ball in Prewett’s hands — wide open on the wing. After going scoreless in the first quarter, Prewett rose up and splashed the shot for a nine-point lead.
“Once you make one or two in a row, you just have to keep shooting,” Prewett said. “I know that once I make it, the next one is going in.”
Then the floodgates opened for the Lady Warriors.
After the Lady Knights answered with a pair of foul shots, Lee-Scott exploded with a 12-0 run. The surge was capped by eight-straight Prewett points, including two more 3-pointers.
Northside Methodist came back with a 3-pointer of its own, but there was no cooling down Prewett. The 5-foot-5 guard hit her fourth 3-ball of the quarter to spark a 7-0 spurt for the Lady Warriors to extend the margin to 42-19.
The total Lee-Scott second-quarter run was 25-5 to effectively put the game on ice.
Ivatt credited the game-deciding quarter with the Lady Warriors’ ability to push the pace and find early offense. With multiple ball-handlers, including Johnson and Prewett, Lee-Scott rarely walks the ball up the floor. Even if the paint isn’t available for a drive, the pressure often resulted in the Lady Knights scrambling on defense and losing track of the Lady Warriors’ outside marksmen.
“Our pace is our advantage,” Ivatt said. “We want to play with a lot of pace. You’ll hear me yell numerous times throughout the game, ‘Go, go!’ It is not always to get an open layup, but sometimes you get a good look from the 3-point line.”
Northside Methodist attempted a comeback early in the third quarter and cut the margin to 14, but an 8-2 Lee-Scott run got the game back to 20 points going into the fourth quarter.
The celebration was on in the final quarter as the starters got a well-deserved rest. Four Lady Warriors finished in double figures led by Prewett with 17 points on five 3-pointers.
Mary Baxley Smith had 13 points and was a force in the paint on the defensive end. Her early blocked shots dissuaded the Lady Knights from attacking the basket much at all after the opening minutes.
“More aggressive,” Prewett said when describing Smith’s impact on their defense. “Because I know she will be there if anybody gets by me.”
Sterling Tucker and Johnson each finished with 12 points.
The Lady Warriors now prepare for a rivalry showdown in the AAA finals with Glenwood. The game will tip off at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex in Montgomery.
“We were able to grab the moment today,” Ivatt said. “I’m excited for tomorrow. I’m excited for our kids. We have one more game to show up to and I can’t wait for it.”