By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
The Obion Central girls admittedly showed up without their “A-Game” for Monday’s District 13AA Tournament quarterfinal game.
However, OC’s “C-Game” was plenty good enough.
The Lady Rebels bought themselves at least three more games, starting with Thursday’s semifinals after a 76-45 romp over South Gibson at Troy Monday.
Central (25-7) will face seventh-ranked Westview (25-4) in the second of two semis Thursday after the Lady Chargers had no trouble eliminating Crockett County 64-36. Second-ranked and top-seeded Covington (28-2) hammered Haywood 72-36 Monday and will play Dyersburg (18-9) in Thursday’s first semifinal after the fifth-seeded Lady Trojans ousted Gibson County 60-42.
The girls’ championship and consolation games are slated for Saturday night at DHS.
Obion Central, which had beaten SG by 19 and 29 points respectively, in two previous meetings, easily extended its season despite not putting forth its best effort Monday — much to the displeasure of head coach Lyle LaRue.
“Not very good, maybe not even average,” the Lady Rebel skipper answered when asked afterward his impressions of OC’s play. “Basic things, like taking care of the basketball, we didn’t do.
“Probably the worst thing that happened was that we got out on them early. We just shifted into cruise control and never played with any intensity or passion after that. Another effort like that and we’ll be playing for the consolation game Saturday night.”
Despite the lack of style points, Central led from start to finish and was never in danger in being overtaken by the Lady Hornets.
A 3-pointer by Shannon Wiggins and two buckets by Paige Hicks got OC off to a quick start, and nine first-quarter points by Brandi Goodman kept the Lady Rebels in front despite three 3-pointers from Destiny Donald.
Anna Warren’s trey pulled SG within 21-15 early in the second frame, but the visitors did not score again the remainder of the quarter.
Central, meanwhile, gradually padded its margin, running off 11 consecutive markers to end the half with buckets by Goodman and Hicks capping the flurry and opening the hometeam’s lead to 34-15 at the intermission.
After building the margin to 24 (41-17) on a rare Goodman triple, Obion Central’s uninspired play became most obvious when the Lady Hornet shaved nine points off that difference by simply outplaying the Rebel girls the final five minutes of the stanza.
OC regained control, though, sparked by Ashlynn Hamm just before the third-quarter buzzer.
A flurry of 13 unanswered points — finished by a Wiggins bucket — officially salted the game away.
The victory could prove to be costly as starter Rachel Jones suffered an ankle injury with 4:13 to go and was in a walking boot after the contest.
“No way should I have had to have my starters still in the game at that point, and it could end up costing us,” LaRue said.
“I do believe that girls will know from now on, we can’t have any more performances like this. We can’t live on what we’ve done in the past or in the regular season. And you can bet Westview will give us their best on Thursday.”
South Gibson had no answer for Goodman, who ruled the paint in another game-high 30-point performance while Hicks chipped in with 13 markers for the victors.
Donald hit four 3-pointers in all and led SG with 20 points.
OC and the Lady Chargers split a pair of regular season meetings, each winning at home and Central’s triumph last week knocking Westview down two spots in the final Associated Press Class 2A state rankings.
The boys take over tonight with four quarterfinal games at the sites of the higher seeds.
Obion Central travels to Haywood in the elimination game.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.12.13