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Lady Eagles ease past Monroe for tourney title

It wasn't supposed to be this easy. Or was it?

The Alabama Independent School Association's No. 2-ranked Fort Dale Academy Lady Eagles rolled through their area unscathed and untested to claim the regular season area championship.

So would it be nothing but a formality for Fort Dale (23-3) to earn a spot in the AISA Regional tournament at Huntingdon College later this week?

It was.

Fort Dale easily dispatched Hooper Academy in the semifinals and then just rolled to a convincing 58-26 victory over Monroe Academy to add another area tournament title trophy to an already full girls basketball trophy case at Fort Dale.

&#8220We had already beaten these teams twice already, so we talked about how hard it is to beat a team three times in a season,” Lady Eagles coach Reggie Mantooth said. &#8220But I didn't think they would come this easy. It's a great accomplishment for our girls.”

The game was over really before it every could begin.

Fort Dale took a commanding 20-4 lead after the first period thanks to tournament most valuable player Frances Watts pouring in 12 of her 14 points in the period, including three 3-pointers.

&#8220We wanted to come out early and get them down early, and that's what we were able to do,” Mantooth said. &#8220We were ready to play tonight, and it showed earlier today during our walkthrough.”

The Lady Eagles, who will face Lee-Scott Academy in the AISA Regional Tournament, just kept pouring it on in the second before taking a comfortable 35-8 lead at intermission.

All Monroe Academy coach Ricky Raines could do was just sit and watch his team struggle from the opening tap.

&#8220I was proud that my girls were able to just hang in there with them,” Raines said. &#8220Most teams they have played couldn't even do that.”

With the tournament title in hand by intermission, Mantooth began to freely substitute to give his younger players more time on the court before cruising to a 32-point victory.

Morgan Pouncey and Maryanne Hancock were also named to the All-Tournament team.