By Kim West
The unranked Tanner girls fell to undefeated Providence Christian 52-31 Tuesday morning in the Class 2A state semifinals at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.
Senior Kristen Emerson, a 6-foot-1-inch guard and the primary dribbler for Providence, finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Providence led 31-8 at halftime and 35-17 after three quarters.
Tanner starting forward Kacie Dentleegrand played only three minutes off the bench after sustaining an injury in last week’s Northwest Regional Tournament.
Providence held Tanner to 23.9 percent from field-goal range, while converting 38.6 percent from the field and finishing with a 22-6 scoring advantage in the paint. Providence only hit three 3-pointers, while Alliyah Fletcher knocked down the lone trey for the Rattlers.
Sophomore Kelsey Houston had a team-high 10 points for Tanner, and Northwest Regional MVP Sydney Houston added nine points, eight rebounds and two steals. Fletcher scored four points, and Samara French had four points and six rebounds.
After starting the season 1-6, Tanner (15-17) denied Clements’ bid to win its sixth straight county championship by winning the Limestone County Tournament on Dentleegrand’s buzzer-beater. The Rattlers also captured the Class 2A, Area 16 title and the Northwest Regional championship.
Seniors Victoria Waite, Fletcher, French and Dentleegrand were attempting to win their second 2A title after claiming a state crown in 2011.
No. 2 Providence Christian (34-0) will face No. 1 Woodland (33-2) at 9 a.m. Friday in the 2A state championship game at the BJCC. The Tanner boys will play at 11 a.m. Friday in the boys’ final.