• 61°

Lady Eagles meet match in Glenwood

Anjoy Castleberry pushed ahead on a fast break during Fort Dale’s semifinal bout with the Glenwood Gators Saturday.

Anjoy Castleberry pushed ahead on a fast break during Fort Dale’s semifinal bout with the Glenwood Gators Saturday.

The Fort Dale Academy Lady Eagles’ journey to a state championship reached an abrupt end, thanks to the towering presence of Glenwood’s 6-foot-1 power forward, Audrey Crowe, as the Lady Gators claimed a 42-17 win.

The Lady Gators ensnared the Lady Eagles in a quagmire of interior defense, limiting Fort Dale to a single point in the first half.

Crowe’s rebounding and scoring efforts on the inside were complemented by remarkable accuracy beyond the arc from senior small forward, Teri Hodge, who spread the Fort Dale defense and kept the Lady Eagles on their collective heels.

But the 28-1 deficit at the half failed to discourage Fort Dale at the top of the third quarter, as Anna Blake Langford found the rim barely six seconds into the half with a bucket that reenergized the Fort Dale sideline.

A Fort Dale steal and subsequent layup kept the momentum firmly in the Lady Eagles’ camp, and an extremely-long 2-pointer from Langford gave the team a 6-0 start.

But trouble reared its head once again for the Lady Eagles as Madison Ann Gaston was tagged with her fourth foul of the morning early in the third, forcing her to sit out during the crucial Fort Dale comeback attempt.

But the Lady Eagles’ improvement spread to the defensive half of the court, as well, with new assignments on Crowe mitigating her effectiveness in the paint.

Unfortunately for Fort Dale, creeping foul trouble kept the Lady Eagles’ leading scorers on the sideline for too long to mount a comeback, and the flash of offense that began the third quarter soon began to fizzle out.

The fourth quarter’s eight minutes weren’t nearly enough to overcome the 29-point deficit, as Parker Slappey regained the Lady Gators’ offensive footing and put the contest out of reach with several hard baseline attacks.