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Season ended for Fort Dale girls

A tough first half put the Fort Dale girls in a hole they couldn’t find their way out of against Pike Liberal Arts as the Patriots topped the Eagles 44-35 in the AISA semi-finals today.

The Eagles had trouble with the Patriot full-court press early in the game and found themselves down 12-2 after the first period.

In the second quarter, the Eagles found a rhythm but still trailed 23-13 at halftime.

“Pike is an extremely athletic team, and we had trouble with their press in the first half,” said head coach William Johnson. “We went in at halftime and ironed a few things out.”

One thing that changed for the better was the turnover difference in the second half.

In the first two periods, the Eagles had 20 turnovers, but that number dropped to seven in the latter half of the game.

In the third quarter, Fort Dale cut the lead down to 26-20, but Pike responded and stretched the lead to 10 again at the end of the third.

FDA made another run in the fourth quarter, and with 4:40 to play in the game, the lead was a slim 35-32.

However, the Eagles again couldn’t get any closer, and Pike controlled the last half of the fourth quarter.

“We fought and fought and actually gave ourselves a chance at the end,” Johnson said. “This is a resilient group, and I’m proud. I really am. We had several players that came up and hit big shots for us, but we just came up short.”

“We don’t need to hang our heads,” he added.

Abbey Martin was the leading scorer for FDA with 16 points and Emily Boulware added nine.

Martin was also one rebound short of a double-double with nine boards, while Murphy Middleton was close behind with eight rebounds.