By Josh Bean, For the AHSAA
MONTGOMERY – Things weren’t looking so good for the North after the South scored the final nine points of the third quarter in Tuesday night’s 25th annual All-Star Week North-South Girls’ basketball all-star game at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex.
But the North, coached by Phil Campbell’s Craig Thomas and Pleasant Grove’s Walter Hicks, didn’t panic.
Emma Smith of Winfield hit her only 3-pointer, and Fairfield’s Shaniah Nunn scored back-to-back layups as the North opened the fourth period with an 18-8 spurt and transformed a 44-44 tie at the end of three quarters into a 66-61 victory for the North. The victory improved the North’s lead in the series, which started in 1997, to 21-3.
“We just wanted to push the ball a little more in the fourth,” Thomas said. “We knew we needed to push the ball a little harder. We hit some big three’s when we needed them.”
Nunn led all scorers with 20 points and 10 rebounds and earned the North MVP award. Hazel Green’s Samiya Steele added 16 points.
Sand Rock’s Lanie Henderson scored five points, including a 3-of-3 performance from the free-throw line, in 8:45 of action for the North. She also had a rebound and an assist.
Thomas said the North coaching staff knew the 6-foot Nunn, a point guard, posed match-up problems for the South.
“She’s 6-foot or 6-foot-1, so they have to put a big on her,” he said. “We told her to shoot it. If they’re going to leave us open, we’re going to take it.”
The South, coached by Central-Phenix City’s Carolyn Wright and UMS-Wright’s Terry Canova, got 12 points from Park Crossing’s Alexis Andrews – all in the fourth quarter – and also got 12 Vigor’s Janiya Labyzon. Andrews was named the South MVP after scoring eight points in a row in the fourth quarter.
Davidson’s Kelsey Thompson contributed 10 points, including seven of her team’s first nine points in the opening period.
Both teams struggled in the first half, with the North shooting 31 percent (9-for-29) and the South shooting 26 percent (8-for-31). The shooting improved in the second half, with the North improving to 52 percent (15-for-29), including nine 3-pointers, and the South shooting 49 percent (15-for-31).
Nunn finished with four treys, and Pisgah’s Molly Heard had two for the North, which finished with 11 treys and out-rebounded the South 36-32. Heard totaled eight points.
Olivia Porter of Auburn sank two 3-pointers for the South and finished with eight points.
Two North players – Hoover’s Aniya Hubbard and Madison Academy’s Libby Privett – did not play because of injuries.