Lady Tigers, 12-6, clinch right to host area tournament

YORK — Demopolis (12-6, 5-1) clinched the right to host the Class 5A, Area 6 tournament Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over Sumter-Central.

“We reached one of our goals last week when we clinched a winning season. We got another one tonight when we locked up hosting the area tournament,” Demopolis coach Blythe Smith said. “But we still have a lot left to do. We have a tough Dallas County team Thursday and then we have to take care of our business in the area tournament next week. We still want to be area champions and make a run in Super Regionals, so we have a lot of work left to do.”

Demopolis trailed 7-2 in game one before surging to a 25-16 win. The Lady Tigers scuffled at times, but won game two largely on the strength of an Ivery Moore service streak that accounted for eight straight points.

“Ivery has worked hard to find her serve,” Smith said. “I’ve been really impressed with how much work she has put in and I am confident at what she can do in those situations.”

Demopolis appeared out of sorts for much of game three before ultimately falling to 25-21.

The Lady Tigers opened game four in a hole, but rallied to a 25-23 win to force a first-place tie with area foe Selma.

“We have a tendency to get a little distracted or a little down sometimes,” Smith said. “Our girls just have to take a breath, get their focus back and rely on our greatest strength, which is our chemistry.”

Given that Demopolis and Selma split their two regular season matches, the tie-breaker comes down to the percentage of games won between the two squads.

Demopolis picked up a victory against Selma 3-1 while the Lady Saints’ margin of victory was 3-2. The totals leave Demopolis with a 5-4 advantage in terms of total games won, leaving the Lady Tigers hosting the area tournament for the first time since 2011.