No rust on OC ladies’ machine

No rust on OC ladies’ machine
No rust on OC ladies’ machine

Obion Central’s Billie Dee Preuett and Paige Hicks surround Westview’s Jacey Sims on Friday.
Lyle LaRue’s fears proved to be unfounded.
Concerned beforehand about the quality of his team’s play after a 10-day weather-related layoff, the Obion Central girls’ coach had his mind eased when the fourth-ranked Lady Rebels scored the game’s first 11 points and never looked back in a 62-40 victory over Westview Friday night.
OC forced nine first-quarter Lady Charger turnovers and 21 for the game to complete a regular season sweep of Westview, which ended Central’s season a year ago with an upset in the regional semifinals.
Macy Wright scored eight of her 13 points in the opening period when the Rebel girls turned several of Martin’s unforced floor mistakes into easy buckets and joined teammates Mackenzie Tucker (14 points) and Paige Hicks (11) as double-figure scorers for the victors.
The win kept District 13AA-leading Central (22-3 overall) perfect in league play (11-0) with a three-game lead over its closest pursuer, two weeks before postseason play is set to begin.
The ninth-ranked Char-ger boys salvaged a sweep in the nightcap, but not without a fight from pesky OC which got solid all-around performances from a handful of relatively little-used players before falling 70-62.
Underclassmen Chris-tian Higgins, Mike Klien and Eric Torres combined for 22 points and had the Rebels tied with Westview at 44-all entering the fourth quarter and still within three points with less than two minutes to play.
The Chargers’ superior athleticism, though, with Jacob Lloyd and Javier Gordon shaking defenders and making plays at critical junctures while combining for 18 fourth-quarter points, proved to be the difference in OC’s sixth consecutive loss.
Obion Central begins a busy week of four games with a makeup 13AA tilt tonight against Gibson County at home.
OC 62, Westview 40 (G)
“I really didn’t know how we’d play and if we’d be sharp at all,” LaRue said after his team won its sixth straight game and first since beating Covington in overtime a week and a half earlier. “You can practice and work on things, but when you have that much time without playing after being in a routine of playing two or three nights a week, you never know if you’ll have anxiousness or you’ll be sluggish or how your kids will respond.”
The Lady Rebels benefited from turnovers on Westview’s first four possessions and led by as much as 17-4 late in the first quarter after Tucker scored from inside.
Westview (14-8, 6-4), which also hadn’t played in 10 nights due to a pair of weather postponements, settled down somewhat in the second period behind the play of Teddy Vincent.
Vincent scored eight straight points during one juncture — including a pair of deep 3-pointers — and had 10 of her team’s 12 points in the quarter as the Lady Chargers crept to within 27-19 at the half.
Twice in the third period, Martin got as close as six — the first time early on a pair of Vincent free throws, then midway through the frame when Breanna Pitcher bottomed a trey to close the difference to 34-28.
Tucker swung the momentum back to the Lady Rebel side with a huge trifecta of her own with just under four minutes left, though, and after building its lead back to twin-digit status, OC held the ball the final two minutes of the quarter as Westview elected to pack its zone defense into the lane.
Up 40-28 heading into the fourth, Central gradually pulled away. Billie Dee Preuett and Tucker both converted after two more Lady Charger turnovers with Preuett then knocking down a trey to make it 53-35 at the halfway mark.
Vincent matched Tucker for scoring honors, topping the Westview book with 14 points. Pitcher finished with 11.
Westview 70, OC 62 (B)
The Rebels got another ‘L’ on their record, but an ‘A’ for effort after struggling with inconsistency in that area in their recent slide.
“No doubt, our effort was better,” Central skipper Bill Kail said afterward. “We had some young guys really step up and take some ownership and play hard and battle. When things got tough and we had a rough patch or two, they didn’t hang their heads.”
Active defensively throughout most of the contest, OC (8-13, 2-9) used that gritty play to lead by as many as five in the second quarter behind Higgins, who gave Central a small advantage with a free throw and then a steal and a deuce late in the first half.
Westview (16-7, 7-3), which trailed by a bucket at the intermission, overtook the Rebs during a stretch when Obion Central turned the ball over on five of six possessions, going in front on a Dillon Gardner old-fashioned 3-point play that was part of an 11-2 Charger surge to open the second half.
Klien, an unheralded sophomore, gave the Rebels a huge lift off the bench with back-to-back 3-pointers from deep-range that drew the county locals even at 42 before a LaPrince Gauldin bucket gave OC a brief lead with 35 seconds left in the third.
The Chargers, though, with a decided edge in quickness, used those talents on the front end of fullcourt pressure and scored the first nine points of the stretch run and never again trailed. Chris Evans’ only bucket of the game capped that spurt that also included a reverse layup by Gardner and a basket by Gordon.
After Obion Central — which was guilty of 15 of its 21 turnovers in the second half — had gamely fought back to within 60-58 on a Tanner Noles bucket with 2:25 showing, both Gordon and Lloyd made plays to ensure the Chargers would not surrender their lead.
Gordon made a spectacular steal on the front end of the press and converted the play into a traditional 3-point possession, before Lloyd then repeated that feat on a drive to the bucket to double what was a 63-60 lead with 1:15 to play.
Both Gordon and Lloyd had nine points apiece in the final period.
Gardner finished with a game-best 21 points for Westview, while Jacob Wade’s 19 was tops for Central.
Kail confirmed afterward that Jacquis Williams, a sometimes-starter, had been dismissed from the team for failing to attend practice.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at

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