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Spirited Panthers fall short in championship

Isabella fought back from a lost first set on Saturday to defeat rival Jemison, 2-1 (18-25, 25-21, 15-7) and win the Chilton County Volleyball Tournament for the second time in three seasons.

No county team other than Isabella or Jemison has won the tournament since its resumption in 2003, and the Mustangs and Panthers fought like familiar foes at this year’s event, hosted by Thorsby.

Jemison played focused, flawless volleyball in taking the first set from Isabella, ranked eighth in Class 1A, but the second and third sets were dominated by tournament Most Valuable Player Amber Wyatt, who finished with 23 kills, seven blocks, seven digs and six aces in two matches.

Isabella defeated Thorsby, 2-0 (25-17, 25-14) in its first match of the day, while Jemison topped Chilton County, 2-0 (25-19, 25-6), to advance to the championship match.

CCHS beat Thorsby, 2-0 (25-15, 25-22), in the consolation match.

Along with Wyatt, the all-tournament team included Chilton County’s Keondra Looney, Thorsby’s Desiree Evans, Jemison’s Kasi Wells and Hallie Amos, and Isabella’s Savannah Kissel and Heather Mason.

Emily Smithey got every one of her 19 serves in, and that number included five aces, second only to Wells’ eight aces.

Smithey led the team in digs with 16; Amos wasn’t far behind with 14.

Wells recorded 23 assists.

Kortney Robinson had nine kills, and Shelby Griffin led Jemison with four blocks.