Eagles end season with Sparta Academy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

The Fort Dale Eagles ended the season the way they started it – with a pair of wins. Monday night the seniors from FDA were honored as they played host to Sparta Academy in their final game of the regular season. Both squads posted victories.

The boys had the biggest win of the night with a 64-35 over their opponents from Evergreen. The girls game was not that big of a win margin, Fort Dale picked up a hard-fought 55-54 victory.

"Sparta has a good team," said Reggie Mantooth, coach of the Fort Dale Eagles. "We didn't play particularly well, I think the emotion of senior night got to us and we had the lead for most of the second half, but they tied it up late and Laura Skipper hit a big three pointer late to give us the lead late in the game. We were able to get a big lead in the first half and then the guys just cruised the second half and didn't play with much intensity, but we had a big lead. But it was good to finish the regular season with a game like that."

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The Fort Dale Eagles now have the next few days to work on things for the upcoming area tournament this weekend in Selma.

"Playing a team like Sparta is good for us," said Mantooth. "You aren't going to have many blowouts like that in the tournament so it's good to have a big win before it. For the boys, we've got to play Hooper the first game and we've beaten them twice, but they've always been very competitive with us. After that we'd probably end up playing Morgan or Monroe. All four games we've played with those two teams have been really tough and I expect it to be a close game if we get to that point. We've beaten Hooper twice with the girls and if we play them tough we should beat them again."

Despite already having earned a No. 2 seeding in the state tournament, the Eagles are looking to earn the No. 1 seeding by winning the area tournament. To do that, Mantooth is going to look to his seniors for leadership.

"I think our seniors, Laura Skipper and Wesley Atkins, it's their last chance so I except them to step up," said Mantooth. "Both of them do well. In the last couple of weeks Francis Watts has stepped up for us as well as Maryanne Hancock so I expect both of them to do well in the tournament."

The way the Alabama Independent School Association is set up, the winners of the area during the regular season get automatic bids into the state tournament. They are also granted a No. 2 seed. They can improve their seeding by winning their area tournament and that will grant them a No. 1 seed.

The area tournament is going to be held at Morgan Academy in Semla and is set to take place this weekend.