“We did it for Aniah,” Shemeshia Truss said. “She was a student who passed, so we did it for her.”
The tournament’s MVP Makia Tuck felt her team played as one when it mattered most in the deciding game.
“I feel like we worked hard,” Tuck said. “We played together. We did our thing. We came out here and did what we had to do and we won.”
Lincoln worked their way out of the loser’s bracket. They lost to Winterboro in their first game, then went on to defeat B.B. Comer, Alabama School for the Deaf, Munford, Winterboro, and Sylacauga in succession. As winners of the loser’s bracket, they earned the chance to play Talladega, who had emerged with three wins and no losses.
“My girls worked their way out. I’m not disappointed in the way that they played today,” Lincoln head coach Patty Hansen said following the tournament. “They played—including that last one—that was their eighth match today. We played the first won and lost it. We sat out one match. After the second match, we played to the eighth match back-to-back. I’m not disappointed in how they played. Of course, we’re disappointed in the loss, but we’ve got more things to look forward to and that we’ve got to work toward for our area play. I had good play out of all my girls today and it was a good day for them.”
Talladega head coach Jannie Keith gave Lincoln a great deal of credit for being a formidable opponent.
“Lincoln did a great job coming from the loser’s bracket,” Keith said. “They did a fantastic job. A lot of times when you play in a tournament like this, you can sit around, get rested and get out of your rhythm. I think that’s what happened to them. For a lot of players, the longer they play the better they get. I just thank God we came through this one because I tell you Lincoln played really well. They played an awesome game today.”
Talladega beat Alabama School for the Deaf in their first match and went on to beat Winterboro and Sylacauga.
Lincoln defeated Talladega in two sets in the first match by scores of 25-18 and 25-17.
In the first game, Rachel Leonard helped the Lady Bears earn an 8-1 lead off of four straight serve points including two aces. Talladega came back to tie the score 10-10. Later in the game, Clancy Carlisle had three straight serve points including two aces to give Lincoln a 19-12 lead.
In the second game, Shelbi White dominated with a game-high eight kills. Teammates Katelyn Bean and Toni Bynum contributed three kills each. White helped Lincoln gain a 6-1 lead, a lead they never relinquished. It was the first county loss of the season for Talladega.
However, the tournament was double elimination, so the two teams had to play another deciding match. Talladega won in two sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-8.
In the first game, Shemeshia Truss had three aces to give the Lady Tigers an early 4-0 lead. Brianna Smoot served the final three points including the game-winning point.
In the second game, Alexis Morgan had six straight aces early in the game to lead the team to a 8-1 advantage. Truss finished the game for the Tigers by reeling off five aces and six straight serve points for the win.
Hansen said Lincoln has shown remarkable improvement since the very first day the team convened for practice.
“The first time we played this season to now is a totally different team,” Hansen said. “They’ve worked very, very hard on all their playing and what they’re doing. It’s not just three or four of my girls that are doing that but all eleven of my girls are playing hard, working hard and doing what they need to do to get this team better. Where it counts most is at area. This was an important goal for us and they’re heartbroken. But I loved how they played today and I love my girls.”
Keith thinks the win will be a momentum builder for the Lady Tigers.
“It’s going to do a lot for the girls because now they have met a goal that they set earlier in the year,” Keith said. “That will make them feel good. It also makes you feel good when you’re the high seed and end up on top. We have obstacles and we have things we have to go through even out on the court. We need to be behind and learn how to come back up to the top. It’s a great feeling. I feel like these girls are going to do some awesome things the rest of this year.”
The County Tournament team was announced following the championship game. The selections were: Talladega: MVP Makia Tuck, Shemeshia Truss, Sheleshia Truss, Alexis Morgan and Alexis McKinney; Lincoln: Katelyn Bean, Megan Elston, Shelbi White and Toni Bynum; Sylacauga: Taniya Garrett and Brenlee Richardson; Winterboro: Jasmine Richardson and Tiffany Vincent; Munford: Kierra Groce; Fayetteville: Catherine Nelson; Childersburg: Knea Malone; ASD: Tuesdae Dunklin; TC Central: Tiarrial Duncan; and B.B. Comer: Keaira Seals.
Sylacauga finished as the third place team, as they lost to both Talladega and Lincoln and were eliminated by Lincoln in two sets by scores of 25-21 and 25-19.