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Panthers, Rebels both make sub-state round

By Stephen Dawkins

The historic seasons for Jemison’s and Thorsby’s volleyball programs continue.
Thorsby on Oct. 17 earned a berth in the sub-state round of the playoffs for the first time in school history. Jemison will host a sub-state match for the first time in coach Leighsa Robinson’s four seasons.
The Panthers (34-10) finished second in the Class 4A, Regional B tournament. Jemison was the host school but chose to play the tournament at Calera.
JHS defeated both Oak Grove and Elmore County High 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-10 and 25-22, 25-21, 25-19) but lost to Alabama Christian, 3-0 (25-11, 27-25, 25-18) in the championship match.
“We played just good enough to win, and, when we got to the championship match, that wasn’t good enough,” Robinson said.
The Panthers on Thursday play Andalusia with a berth in the Elite 8 tournament in Pelham on Oct. 28-30 on the line. The Panthers’ last Elite 8 appearance was in 2004.
The match at Alton Cobb Gymnasium will begin at 4 p.m., and admission will be $6.
In the regional tournament, statistical category leaders were: Emily Smithey with 37 digs, Whitney Childress with eight aces, Kasi Wells with 31 assists and seven blocks, and Tabatha Cork with 19 kills.
Thorsby, meanwhile finished third in the Class 2A, Regional B tournament at New Brockton. The Rebels (20-19) defeated Zion Chapel, 3-2 (18-25, 25-15, 26-24, 24-26, 15-9) and lost to No. 3 Ohatchee, 3-0 (25-11, 25-8, 25-3) and Isabella, 3-1 (25-18, 17-25, 25-19, 25-15).
“At the end of last season, [assistant coach Keith Williams] and I began telling the returning seniors every chance we got that it was up to them to start a tradition,” coach Ginger Williams said. “We wanted them to leave a legacy for future teams.
This year, we have a great group of seniors. They are wonderful leaders on and off the court. They have become very competitive, and they continue to want more out of themselves and their teammates. For these seniors and this team, I hope that they are very proud of everything they have accomplished this year, but I hope that they are not satisfied. They have the potential and the chance to do more.
“For the program, this season sets a precedent for next year’s team and the teams after that, hopefully starting a tradition for Thorsby volleyball.”
The Rebels visit Leroy at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
During the regional tournament, statistical category leaders were: Brittany Maddox with 23 digs, 15 kills and six blocks; and Holly Smith with 43 assists. Both Smith and Kendra Dawson had five aces.