Levi Wigley's squad hit the Tallapoosa Trifecta on Friday night.
Shooting for a third consecutive crown at the 42nd Annual Hilburn-Patterson Haralson County Invitational Tournament, the host Rebelettes ran out to a 21-4 advantage and never looked back for a 67-41 victory over rival Bremen in the championship game of the three-day event.
A tight-knit and talented senior class for Haralson County took a business-like approach to the tournament and was dead-set on not letting any outsiders steal their thunder in the final opportunity to play in the annual holiday showcase on their home court.
"They had a lot of determination. Three in a row meant a lot to them. The five seniors that we've got, they felt like this is part of finishing what they started four years ago by winning this tournament again. We played well enough and hard enough to get it done," Wigley said.
The Rebelettes (9-0) feature plenty of firepower, but their hot start Friday night came from an unlikely offensive source in the form of senior guard Abbey Michalke, who scored 10 of the team's first 16 points and finished the game with 19 points on five 3-pointers.
Michalke proved to be the ultimate scouting report-buster for Bremen head coach Billy Pollard, who was focused on trying to contain two of the Rebelettes' big guns in senior guards Tori Causey and Claire Robinson.
"It's a gamble you take. You try to take away their two best and then the other two took over," Pollard said. "I think we shut down who I thought were their two best players. It was a good chance to see what they're about and what they can do. That game, yeah, it's a tournament championship game, but now we'll play them twice (in sub-region) that count. So it gives us a chance to go back and look to see what we need to do differently."
Wigley said it's a matter of picking your poison when dealing with his personnel, and Michalke just happened to have the hot hand on this particular evening.
"We have a lot of weapons and it's hard to key in on one or two because anybody can step up and that's what Abbey did (Friday)," Wigley said. "She scored 19 and shot lights-out from behind the arc and really gave us the spark we needed to jump out, get a good lead and be able to hang on to it."
While Michalke proved to be a pleasant surprise, Wigley knew what he was getting from senior point guard Alexis Boykin, who stuffed the stat sheet once again en route to tournament MVP honors.
The highlight-reel performer poured in a game-high 24 points with 13 rebounds, nine steals, six assists and three blocked shots, once again exhibiting her role as the Rebelette energizer.
"I think those three letters sum it up pretty good — Most Valuable Player. She's definitely the most valuable player on our team, as far as what we do night-in and night-out on both ends of the court," Wigley said. "She is surrounded by some great players, but she definitely gets us going."
Fellow all-tournament team selection Tori Causey, who was honored prior to Friday's game for scoring her 1,000th career point in Wednesday's win over Central, added nine points and seven steals in the championship showdown.
Bremen (6-7) was powered by the 1-2 punch of juniors Alyssa Taylor and Ashlynn Hodges, who both scored 17 points with Taylor pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds.
"She's really improved a lot since last year," Pollard said of Taylor. "She's the only person on the team that can play one through five. She's played point guard and she played the four all this week. She's a hard worker and gets after it."
Both the Lady Blue Devils and Rebelettes now turn their attention to sub-region play with the turn of the calendar, as Haralson County heads to Spring Garden (Ala.) on Tuesday before the league tip against Sonoraville on Friday.
"It was a good first half, but now we start the real season. We start our sub-region play. It's a tough sub-region," Wigley said. "We go to Spring Garden and we're going to come in on the 1st and prepare for them and go to Spring Garden and try to get a win. That's kind of how we look at it. It's the next game on the schedule."
Pollard is looking forward to getting his full lineup back in tact and make a strong push toward becoming the ballclub he expected to be at the start of the season.
"I told them that January has got to be our month. We're a better team than .500. There's no way we should be sitting at .500 right now. We're better than that. I expect more out of them and hopefully we'll get it starting next week," Pollard said.
Joining Boykin and Causey on the all-tournament team were Taylor and Morgan Cashen of Bremen, Janae Jackson of Central and Amber Gilbert of Troup.
In other action from the Invitational on Friday:
Central girls 46, Troup 43: In the third-place game, the Lady Lions (7-4) knocked off their Region 5-AAAA counterpart fueled by a 17-2 differential in the third quarter.
Trailing 19-17 heading into the half, Central dominated the first eight minutes out of the locker room to take a 34-21 advantage into the fourth quarter and hung on down the stretch for the three-point win over the Lady Tigers (5-4).
Jackson led the Lady Lions with 10 points, followed by Haley Fehring and Nyah Houston with eight apiece. Hannah Harding and Teonna Thomasson chipped in five points each for Central.