By KEVIN WEAKS
Obion Central couldn’t stop Dyersburg from building up a sizable lead three points at a time. Then, OC could only watch the Lady Trojans made sure the lead stood ... point by point.
Dyersburg hit 12 of their 18 3-point attempts in the first half to lead by as many as 13 points in the second quarter and then connected on 10-of-17 free throws in the fourth period to stop the Lady Rebels’ comeback for a 74-70 win in the consolation game of the District 13AA Tournament Saturday night in Dyersburg.
“We went man (defense) so they wouldn’t have so many open looks at the three,” OC head coach Lyle LaRue said of his team’s strategy to shut down Dyersburg’s 3-point shooters, “But, I think their penetration against our man allowed them to still have open looks because we had to help and then they just kicked it out.
“Of their 18 threes, some of them were contested, but we just ran into a hot team. I was proud of our girls for coming back in the third quarter.”
Both teams will next hit the road for the quarterfinals of the Region 7AA tourney on Friday night. The District 14AA finals are tonight.
“We have to fix it, but we have a week to do it,” LaRue said. “This game doesn’t matter. We just have to get back to work.”
Central, which dropped two games in the 13AA tourney, appeared to have fixed its problems in the third period when the team nearly stormed all the way back from its double-digit deficit.
Down 36-23 midway in the second frame and 46-34 at the half, the Lady Rebs fought all the way to within a point at 52-51 on a pair of Dianna Flippen free throws with 3:14 to play.
Shannon Wiggins and Rachel Jones jump-started OC with 3-point baskets, and then Paige Hicks scored in the lane as OC quickly sliced the lead to 51-46 at 4:17. Ali McEwen also dropped a triple in the period.
But, free throw shooting stalled Central’s rally as Flippen missed four times and Brandi Goodman missed the front end of a bonus.
Dyersburg capitalized with treys from Myah Taylor and Christina Moore to push the lead out to as much as nine, 62-53, with 30 seconds to play in the third.
“Unfortunately, when you’re on the comeback trail, you can’t miss free throws that stop runs,” LaRue said. “We missed a two-shotter, a front end and another two-shotter, so that’s a potential for six points. That derailed a comeback, kept us behind and allowed them to hold the ball, which forced us to come out and foul and eventually get in foul trouble. At first, they missed free throws, but then they stepped up and hit at the end.”
Dyersburg missed three of its first six charities to open the fourth, opening the door for another Lady Rebel rally. Triples from Hicks and Wiggins had OC within 69-68 at 1:19.
Goodman fouled out with 1:19 to play, despite a rotation that got her and Flippen off the floor on the defensive end when Central was forced to chase Lady Trojan guards around the perimeter.
The Lady Trojans made just one field goal in the fourth period, but the team began to heat up at the line in the final minutes and sealed the win when Moore sank a pair at the line with 7.6 seconds to play.
Dyersburg could not have been much hotter from beyond the circle in the first half. Moore and Emily Bennett both hit four triples and Taylor added three more. Central, meanwhile, tried to keep up on Goodman’s shoulders as the senior post player scored 15 points in the half, 10 in the second quarter.
Moore finished with a game-high 25 points, Taylor added 17 and Bennett ended with 12. Goodman scored 21, Hicks 17 and Wiggins 10 for OC.
Published in The Messenger 2.16.13