Dance party plays only upbeat tunes for Central

Dance party plays only upbeat tunes for Central
Dance party plays only upbeat tunes for Central | Dance party plays only upbeat tunes for Central
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
There were no sad songs on the play list at Obion Central’s homecoming dance.
The Rebel teams made the annual ritual a festive occasion Friday night with a District 13AA sweep of Gibson County, the No. 2-ranked OC girls winning 59-43, and the Central boys matching their largest victory margin of the season with a 73-47 nightcap romp.
The Lady Rebs (19-1, 10-0) won their 40th straight league game dating back to December of 2009 — ironically against the last team to defeat them — and are now just one more triumph from the 10th straight 20-win season in the tradition-rich history of the program.
In this the 51st season of basketball at OCCHS, the Obion Central girls have won 20 or more games in 35 of those years while making 13 trips to the state tournament.
Game 2 saw the Rebel boys (7-10, 3-7) put forth one of their better efforts of the season to avenge an earlier nine-point loss to the Pioneers.
Central used an aggressive approach of attacking the basket to lead from wire-to-wire, getting a balanced scoring attack that saw three players (Shyheim Slayton 13, Bryan Morris 12, Coleman Dunn 11) all score in double figures with Brett Scillion just a point away from that status.
OC will continue its second trek through district competition with games this week at Haywood (Tuesday) and at home vs. Dyersburg (Friday) with the girls’ game vs. D’burg to match two Top 5 ranked teams.
OC 59, GC 43 (G)
The Lady Rebels — who’ve replaced Gibson County as the top team in a perennially-rugged district over the past couple of years — maintained that place despite what was admittedly not their best effort.
“We were sluggish in the first half, just like we were at Covington on Tuesday,” Central skipper Lyle LaRue agreed, while alluding to his team’s two-point triumph vs. the Lady Chargers three nights earlier. “I don’t know if it had anything to do with us being out of school today (Friday) and getting out of our routine, but we just didn’t seem to have our legs under us.”
A 9-0 run midway through the second quarter put Obion Central up for good, the Rebel girls taking a lead they wouldn’t lose when Brooke Jennings bottomed a 3-pointer that began the spurt. Brandi Goodman and Macy Wright each made a pair of free throws, and Paige Hicks stuck home a follow shot to also contribute to the flurry that made it 24-16 just before halftime.
Jennings gave the county locals another lift on the offensive end in the third frame with two more trifectas and OC led by as many as 12 early in the fourth when she scored before the Lady Pioneers made a final push to halve that difference on Jasmine Whittemore’s trey with 3:35 to go.
Obion Central solidified its position, though, by hitting 11-of-12 free throws in the final 92 seconds — part of a 19-for-22 performance from the stripe for the entire game.
Goodman hit 5-of-6, Ali McEwen hit four without a miss and Wright canned both her attempts to account for the final margin that was the largest of the night.
“Even though we didn’t play as well offensively as I’d liked for us to, I thought we did a good job of making them play at the pace we wanted to — especially in the second half,” LaRue added. “And I thought they got a little bit tired.”
Goodman led Central with 16 points, while Wright, who was named homecoming queen in between-game ceremonies, was next with 14 and Jennings tallied 13.
OC 73, GC 47 (B)
The Rebels got good play from several players, including Dunn and Scillion off the bench to bounce back from a dismal 35-point road loss to district-leading Covington three nights earlier.
“I really think it was about us playing so much better at home — that, and that Covington’s obviously a much better team than Gibson County,” OC skipper Bill Kail said afterward.
“That said, I thought we did a much better job of limiting them to one shot than we did the first time we played them and, offensively, we moved the ball well and were aggressive at taking it to the hole.”
A thundering Morris dunk halfway through the opening stanza highlighted a 17-7 stretch to open the game for OC.
Dunn then scored all 11 of his markers in the second quarter — hitting a trio of shots from beyond the arc, the last of which came with 21 seconds in the half that matched Central’s largest lead (37-22). A pair of Drake Richard foul shots had first accounted for that 15-point difference.
Scillion fed Morris on a pretty play just before the end of the third segment to stretch the gap to 58-38 heading into the fourth stanza and the lead gradually grew until reserve Jacob Sisk got in the scorebook with just three seconds remaining to account for the wide final margin.
Central shot 55 percent from the floor (30-of-54), outrebounded the visitors 30-19 and committed just 12 turnovers.
LaPrince Gauldin had a team-high eight boards for the Rebels.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 1.16.12

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