By Jonathan Deal
Tanner head coach Larry Greene has played a lot games at Wallace State Community College, but the veteran head coach couldn’t remember Tom Drake Coliseum ever being as hot as it was Wednesday afternoon at the 2A girls Regional Semifinal.
Greene used the heat to his advantage, pushing the pace and leaving Hanceville with a 58-49 victory over Cold Springs.
“I’m glad to be back in the final,” said Greene. “It was a pressure-cooker out there. It was a pressure-cooker in there. I know the girls were hot.”
Tanner turned up its pressure to start the second half to pull away during the opening minutes of the third quarter. After a close first half, the Rattlers went on a 15-0 in the final three minutes on either side halftime.
“We thought they were a little fatigued and we felt like we could make a run right there,” said Greene. “We thought we could push the score up enough to where we could maybe hold on. The fact that we did push the score when they were tied was the difference in the game.”
Tanner led by as many as 19 points before Cold Springs put together a late rally to make things interesting in the final minutes.
Kirstin Brown scored a game-high 24 points for Tanner. Kelsey Houston pitched in 16 while Sydney Houston scored 10 in the win.
“Cold Springs is a good team, I know they weren’t going to give up,” said Greene. “I stressed that to our team over the last few days. We got a little sloppy in the fourth quarter. We had some mistakes, but that’s a good experience for them and they’ll be better for that. We almost let them get back in the game with those mistakes, but we were able to pull it out.”
Tanner advanced to Saturday’s 2A regional final where the Rattlers will play Red Bay-Sulligent winner at 9 a.m.