Logan Neil finished with a game-high 21 points, Graidin Haas added 13 points and the Fort Payne girls gained control in the second period and widened the scoring gap with some late baskets en route to a 48-36 win against the Arab Knights in a Class 6A, Area 15 matchup in Fort Payne on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats held a 34-27 lead at the start of the fourth quarter and made some key baskets while applying defensive pressure to seal the area win.
Brylan Gray assisted Haas with a layup early in the fourth and Neil scored a coast-to-coast layup with 6:14 remaining in regulation to give Fort Payne a 36-27 lead.
Neil made a pair of free throws to extend the advantage to 42-33 before Haas stole the ball and scored a layup to push it to 43-33 with 3 minutes left. Haas added a driving layup and Neil helped close the game with a pair of free throws and a layup.
The Wildcats led 20-9 at intermission.
Haas drove toward the paint and dished the ball out to Abby Boatwright on the wing for a 3-pointer to put Fort Payne ahead 10-7. Haas made a spin move inside the 3-point arc and punctuated it with a jump shot with 5:20 to play until halftime to make it 17-7.
With 3:05 remaining in the half, Haas left the game after hitting the floor hard on a drive to the basket. She suffered a cut on her head but re-entered the game at the 6:58 mark in the third quarter.
In her return to the court, Haas found Neil for a transition 3-pointer at the 6:24 mark in the third to give the Wildcats a 24-13 lead.
A minute later, Neil added a layup to make it a 14-point deficit and force Arab to call timeout.
The Knights responded to the break in action with a 4-0 scoring run to pull within 27-25 with 3 minutes to play in the period. During the spurt, Reagan Malone drew a foul as she sank a jump shot and completed a 3-point play, Bryleigh Bodine drilled a 3-pointer and added a hook shot and a free throw and Laney Kelley scored a 3 off an inbounds pass.
Tatum Monroe’s layup with 2 minutes to play in the third brought Arab within 28-27 before Neil assisted Boatwright with a corner 3-pointer.
Haas split a pair of free throws with 23.5 seconds to play to give Fort Payne a 32-27 advantage heading into the fourth. She scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half.
Malone and Bodine each scored 10 points to lead Arab, and Sydney Ferguson and Kelley chipped in eight points apiece.