By BOBBY STAPLETON
BROCKWELL — Kirby moved one step closer to their quest for a Championship with a win to open the 1A State Tournament held at ICC in Brockwell.
The Lady Trojans blew out to an early lead over the Alpena Lady Leopards. Brooke Mitchell hit a free throw then Josie Crump stuck back a rebound off the offensive glass. Gracen Smith made it a 5-0 lead after making the steal in the backcourt and going back for a lay in. Alpena finally got on the board at the 6:51 mark with a trey, but five unanswered by Kirby put them back in control. Mitchell hit a leaner in the lane and Smith added three straight to make it a 10-3 advantage. The Lady Trojans defense held the Lady Leopards almost four minutes without a goal until Alpena got a bucket from Faith Grisham. Smith capped the first quarter off with a trey from the top of the key, giving the Lady Trojans a 13-5 lead after one.Alpena flipped the script in the second, holding Kirby scoreless for just over two minutes while they whittled five points off the Kirby lead. After closing to within three on a Katie Tanner three-pointer, Alpena got another blitz of offense from Kirby. Kacie Anderson got the offense going again with a jumper off the right side of the lane then Crump buried a long range bomb from the left wing. Mitchell came back with a stickback off the offensive glass then added two free throws later to push the Kirby advantage up to 22-10. Alpena got a free throw from Savannah Shook with 2:18 left in the half, but that would be it. Mitchell hit the turnaround jumper off the right side to close the first half with the Lady Trojans up 24-11.Kallie Cowart opened the third quarter with a rebound and a turn around jumper in the lane. Crump kept the momentum going with a runner off the left side then Mitchell added a jumper in the lane to extend the Kirby lead to 30-11. Alpena finally got on the scoreboard with a Tanner bucket with five minutes left in the third frame, but two Cowart free throws negated the Alpena gain. Alpena got one last bucket of the quarter when Shook hit a bucket with 3:13 left in the frame but Mitchell added a free throw and Cammie York added two charity tosses to close the third stanza, with the Lady Trojans up 35-15 with only eight minutes separating them from advancing to the second round.The Lady Trojans got a bucket from Shelby Foshee to open the fourth but a trey from Amber Ray gained some ground for Alpena. Mitchell kept up her dominance in the paint, hit the leaner off the left side. Alpena kept answering Kirby on scoring but with the Lady Trojans getting scoring from seven different players in the fourth alone, kept the Lady Leopards off balance and Kirby cruised on in for the 50-27 win and advances to play winner of the Sacred Heart and Bay contest Thursday at 7 p.m.
Scoring for Kirby: Mitchell (14), Smith (10), Crump (7), York (5), Cowart (4), Foshee (4), Anderson (3), Swanson (2), and Price (1).