Situation win-win for local entries

Situation win-win for local entries
Situation win-win for local entries
The Coaches vs. Cancer Classic proved to be a win-win situation for all Obion Countians who chose to be involved.
Highlighted by No. 4 Obion Central’s 54-45 victory over third-rated Liberty in a battle of state-ranked Class 2A girls’ teams, all three county clubs triumphed in the second annual event that raised over $3,000 for the American Cancer Society.
The Central boys were also victorious, beating Hickman County (Ky.) 61-51, while the Union City girls were triumphant, too, beating Brighton 58-54.
OC’s girls (26-3) won their 10th straight game and fourth in six nights in a showdown of highly-touted West Tennessee teams.
The Lady Rebels outscored Liberty 31-16 in the second half, limiting the Crusaders to just four field goals over the final two quarters in a contest that was not necessarily always well-played.
Brandi Goodman scored 12 of her team-high 18 points in the second half and OC made six consecutive free throws down the stretch after missing nine times from the line in the first half to pull away.
The Obion Central boys (10-15) won for the second time in three games and doubled their win total from a year ago behind the hot shooting of Tanner Noles, who made six of the Rebs’ 12 3-pointers vs. Hickman County.
Union City’s girls became the first of the local clubs to win when they used a strong third quarter to build a big lead, then held on to triumph in consecutive games for the first time in more than three weeks, evening their mark at 12-12 in the process.
In all, 16 teams participated in five girls’ games and three on the boys’ side at OCCHS with action starting in the morning and lasting well over 12 hours in all as fans from their respective teams filed into and out of the Troy gymnasium.
Girls’ games were played with pink basketballs with many players electing to accessorize their uniforms with pink socks and hair ribbons to denote special attention to breast cancer.
District tournament action is on the horizon for all three Obion County schools, with play-in games in District 13AA set for Saturday in Dyersburg, while first round games are on tap for 14A beginning a week from tonight.
OC 54, Liberty 45 (G)
Both teams suffered through lengthy offensive droughts, but the Lady Rebels were able to minimize the damage when they went more than five minutes without a bucket in the first half when Liberty led by as many as 10 points.
“I thought that was critical, that we didn’t get blown out when we went so long and didn’t score, and actually closed the first half by getting a few minutes and getting within six (29-23),” Central coach Lyle LaRue said. “We’d rather play fast, but we can’t do that when we don’t make shots.
“I do think we’re capable of playing a halfcourt game because of our post play and our depth at that position. Tonight is more of what we’ll see come tournament time, and I thought Brandi made a couple of strong moves there down low and made some shots that really got us going and some confidence in the third quarter.”
Goodman — matched up against fellow 6-2 post Ann Jones — got the better of that battle in the second half.
The Lady Rebel sophomore center scored on back-to-back trips to key an 11-4 third-quarter surge and give OC a brief lead before then putting her club up for good with a stickback that made it 38-37 heading into the fourth frame.
Billie Dee Preuett followed a Goodman bucket with two foul shots and Paige Hicks accounted for a deuce as Central extended its lead while Liberty was in the midst of a 61⁄2-minute span without a field goal.
Mackenzie Tucker and Macy Wright later stepped to the charity stripe and made two critical free throws each for the county locals, who hit just 7-of-16 from the foul line in the first half.
Tucker joined Goodman in double figures with 10 points, while Wright chipped in with nine, including a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers.
OC 61, H’man Co. 51 (B)
Noles bottomed a trio of treys right off the bat as a prelude of things to come for the Rebels.
His fourth triple with 2:35 left in the third period gave OC the lead back and for good after Hickman County had erased a 32-24 halftime deficit with a 14-2 flurry to open the second half.
Noles’ last 3-pointer — with 4:30 to play — was part of an 11-3 run to open the fourth stanza and gave Central some breathing room and its largest lead at 56-44.
“We kept our composure and our young kids competed tonight,” OC head coach Bill Kail said.
“We shot the three-ball well and didn’t have that one bad quarter that’s haunted us all year long. When we shoot it like we did tonight and don’t have that letdown, we can be competitive.”
The Rebels got a huge lift from sophomore guard Eric Torres, who came off the bench to score 12 points — nine in the fourth quarter — and snatch seven steals.
Another 10th-grader, Mike Klein, knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with nine points in a key reserve role.
Noles finished with a game-high 18 points, with teammate Josh Gale joining the twin-figure scoring club with 10.
UC 58, Brighton 54 (G)
Class A UC got a quality win against a triple-A foe and head coach Eddie Suiter hopes a needed boost in the right direction with the postseason set to begin in a week.
“They came at us with three different defenses, and I thought we handled it well and had some contributions from several kids off the bench,” the UC skipper said afterward.
Amber Fair (16), Jackie Hudson (15) and Shenisha Huff (10) combined for a balanced scoring attack for the Twister ladies, with Kierra Davis just a point away from double figures.
A run of 12 unanswered points by the Lady Tornadoes with the game deadlocked at 37 midway through the third period proved to be the difference.
Huff had all 10 of her markers in that frame for UC and a followup shot by Davis capped the surge that accounted for the largest difference in the game.
Twice in the waning moments behind the play of Britt Sanford, Brighton (9-13) got within three points, but a bucket by Hudson, two free throws by Fair and another from Davis helped Union City stave off the uprising.
Union City can clinch third place and a home game in the first round of the upcoming district tournament with a win at Trenton Tuesday, according to Suiter.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

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