BY JIM STELLE
Saturday night, Dresden implemented a strong second-half effort to defeat host Trenton-Peabody 42-32 in the girls’ Region 7A basketball semifinals.
The Lady Lions’ victory ensured the team’s first substate invitation since 2018. It also means Dresden will face county rival Gleason for the 7A title Tuesday night.
Gleason, meanwhile, eliminated Greenfield in the other semifinal after a hotly-contested battle, 53-47. That game also was played at Trenton.
For the Lady Bulldogs, their substate appearance marks the program’s first since 2010.
In the opener, Mollie Oliver’s triple early in the third quarter lifted the Lady Lions to a 12-point, 26-14 margin.
The Lady Tide never completely disappeared and drew within five, 28-23, midway in the third, but Dresden extended its advantage to 13 by quarter’s end 36-23.
From there, Dresden effectively kept Peabody at arm’s length to secure the win. Lucy Curry led Dresden with 11 points, Keeley Mathis scored nine and Paisley Pittman added eight. Myricle Johnson and Mariyah Cliff each led Peabody with seven.
Peabody ends its season at 15-8 while Dresden improves to 22-8.
In the nightcap, both teams got off to slow starts, but in the end, Gleason hit eight threes, went 11-12 from the free throw line and held Greenfield’s Edie Darby scoreless from the floor until the fourth quarter.
Greenfield, who never led in the game, seemed out of sync offensively, especially from the perimeter, where the Lady Jackets were just 1-11.
Greenfield’s Anna Grace Abernathy hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 12 with 6:41 to play in the second. Greenfield got no closer.
Gleason senior Carrington Lifsey and Autumn Mingle wrapped a pair of triples around an Alayna Anderson bucket for an 8-0 run. The streak was halted when Greenfield’s Emma Grace Alford scored. She finished with 23 points. The Lady Jackets cut it to six, 23-17, with seconds remaining. Gleason’s Anderson banked in a threebie at the buzzer to push ahead by nine, 26-17.
Alford kept the Lady Jackets close, cutting Gleason’s lead to five midway in the third, the seven at the horn.
Darby hit her first field goal of the game seconds into the fourth quarter, then followed that up with a three, the a deuce, slicing Gleason’s lead to three, 40-37, with 4:01 to play. Despite the slow start, Darby finished with 14.
Gleason scored six points without reply to lead by nine, 46-37. Greenfield cut it to five twice in the final 90 seconds, but never topped the hill.
Anderson led Gleason with 21, Lifsey scored 17. Greenfield ends its season at 18-9. Gleason advances at 23-7.
On Thursday night, the Greenfield girls hit 74, defeating Lake, who scored 46 during its visit to Greenfield. Emma Grace Alford scored 21 points to lead the Lady Yellow Jackets to a 7A quarterfinal victory over the Lady Falcons.
Anna Grace Abernathy tossed in 16 while Edie Darby pitched in 11, including three triples.
Caren Johnson led Lake County with 15 and Reagan Armour contributed 10.
Greenfield took a 14-5 first-quarter lead and built a 38-20 cushion by halftime. The Lady Jackets were firmly in control by the end of the third, 54-30.
Lake County ends its season at 5-26.