Stratford advances to final four

Article and photos courtesy of the Macon Telegraph –> Original Article Here

The story has pretty much been the same the entire year for Stratford and their amazing season.

The Eagles get scoring from Nadia Reese and Mary Elaine Mitchell, and great role play from others.

That formula worked again Tuesday night as Reese and Mitchell combined for 32 of the Eagles 44 points as their team advanced to the GHSA A-Private semifinals with a 44-34 win over Prince Avenue.

They’ll play their semifinals game at 2 p.m. Friday at Columbus State University.

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Four who mattered

Reese: The sophomore guard scored seven points in the first quarter and then struggled a bit in the middle quarters but came up with points when Stratford needed them down the stretch. Reese ended the game with 18 points.

Mitchell: Stratford’s other sophomore guard scored 14 points in the game and spearheaded a great Stratford defensive effort.

Carey Woodcock: The senior center scored seven points in the game but it was her defense and rebounding inside that made her so important. She ended the game with 11 rebounds.

Ansley Hall: The sophomore guard for Prince Avenue played great defense against Reese and also led Prince Avenue with 14 points.

Turning point

Prince Avenue cut the lead to two in the fourth quarter and had three chances to tie the game or take the lead, but could not score. A minute later Hall picked up her fourth and fifth foul to take her out of the game. Prince Avenue could not get any offense going after that.

Observation

Prince Avenue died from the 3-point line where they could never get it going. They ended up hitting only 4-of-26 shots from the 3-point line. Meanwhile Stratford attempted only nine 3-pointers in the game.

They said it

Stratford head coach Ed Smith on the win: “We got exactly what we thought we would get out of Prince Avenue and that was a team that would not quit. We got the early lead and we expected them to battle back and they made it a very close ball game. But I was just very pleased with the way we responded when they challenged us.”

Smith on the feeling when Hall fouled out: “I mean it was big for us that we could get that fifth foul on her but we knew they would keep battling. Thankfully we got some rebounds and made some free throws late.

Smith on the effort of Woodcock, one of two seniors on the team: “As usual Carey gave us whatever we needed from her. She hit a big shot to start the fourth quarter and had so many big rebounds for us. That is why I just say she is a winner.”

Smith on the probability of meeting Holy Innocents, the No. 1 seed, in the next game: “We played them last year and we tried to change things to give us a better chance to win. We won’t do that this time. We will go out and play Stratford basketball and hope for the best.

What’s next?

Stratford (26-2) meets Holy Innocents (28-1) at 2 p.m. Friday at Columbus State University

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