Florien falls to Fairview in semifinals for second straight year

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Florien’s Emalee Anthony drives down the lane against Fairview in the Class B semifinals Monday. (photo by LaMar Gafford)

The second quarter proved to be costly for Florien.

For the second straight season, the Lady Blackcats’ year ends in the Class B semifinals to Fairview as they lost, 61-45.

“It was a good game between two good teams,” Florien coach Dewain Strother said. “Their defense just wore us down and kept us out of our rhythm.”

The Lady Cats shot 30 percent from the floor and committed 23 turnovers but struggled in the second quarter by hitting 3 of 15 shots.

Florien was led by senior Tristaan Ross’s 7 points and 5 rebounds, while sophomore Marleigh Sparks also scored 7 points.

However, the Lady Blackcats did not have an answer for Fairview senior Rylee Jinks, who scored 19 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 6 assists.

“That’s a tough team we played,” Lady Panthers coach Kyle Jinks said. “They’re a lot better than they were at the beginning of the year. Coach Strother does a good job and they made us fight tonight.”

The journey for Florien, like many teams this season, was a tough one as it had to navigate through COVID-19 postponements and cancellations. The Lady Cats won 14 games in a row before Monday’s game and swept through District 4-B.

“It’s really an honor to be here,” Lady Cat senior Emalee Anthony said. “We went through a lot with last year and this year. I’m very thankful to be here, it really feels amazing to actually get here.”

Florien ends its season at 24-3 and loses four seniors in the offseason, including Anthony and Kylee Strother, who are starters.

“I’ll say that we actually had a great season. We fought hard and we fought long, but I’m very proud of our team and coaching staff,” Anthony said.

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