Fort Payne girls basketball players cut down the net and let out victorious screams on their way to the locker room, knowing they had secured a spot in the Class 6A Northeast Regional semifinals.
Kylie Neil scored a game-high 37 points and Isabelle Goggans had 10 points, as the Wildcats held on to beat Mae Jemison 62-59 in a Class 6A Northeast Sub-regional game Monday night.
Neil made the go-ahead layup with 19 seconds left to give the Wildcats (23-7) a 61-59 lead. Mattie Prewett added a free throw with 2.3 remaining to extend the lead to three.
The Jaguars (19-14) took the ensuing inbounds pass from the far end of the court, but Fort Payne’s defense kept the ball from crossing half court and allowing Jemison a shot opportunity.
Saniah Parker led Jemison with 26 points and Tederia Ashley chipped in 21 points.
The Jaguars used a 6-0 run in the third quarter to turn a seven-point deficit into a 42-38 advantage. Arrielle Lawrence made a 3-pointer, Ashley converted a three-point play and Parker added a steal and layup and a 3 during the run.
A deep jumper from Neil pulled the Wildcats within 44-42 at the end of the third, before she tied the game with a put-back layup.
Logan Neil dished to Kylie Neil for a go-ahead layup to make it 46-44 with 6:59 remaining.
The game went through three additional lead changes before the Fort Payne faithful could rest.
Kylie Neil had a pair of free throws to put the Wildcats in front at 14-13 with 7:14 left in the opening half. She added a 3-point basket and a shot in the paint, before Goggans scored a 3 with 4:50 to play to make it 22-17.
Goggans scored a layup to send Fort Payne into the half with a 26-24 advantage.
Fort Payne travels to Jacksonville State to take on Clay-Chalkville in the 6A Northeast Regional semifinal round at 9 a.m. Friday.
Clay-Chalkville defeated Huffman 70-47 in the sub-regional round.