Higher up Lady Rebs earn spot

Higher up Lady Rebs earn spot
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
The difference between No. 2 and No. 5 was No. 33 — for Obion Central.
OC’s Brandi Goodman dominated both the interior and the matchup of Top 5 Class 2A girls’ teams Friday night, scoring 28 points and grabbing 16 rebounds to lead the second-ranked Lady Rebels to a 61-51 victory over fifth-rated Dyersburg at Troy.
The win was Central’s 42nd in a row in District 13AA play — a streak that spans over three seasons — and gave the Rebel girls (21-1, 12-0) a two-game lead over D’burg (20-3, 10-2) in the race for the top seed in the league’s postseason tournament that is now just three weeks away.
Goodman, the tallest player on the court for either team at 6-2, used that size and a deft touch around the goal to post her game-high point total while controlling the glass on both ends of the court, too. She also made 10-of-12 free throws.
The boys’ nightcap saw the turnover-plagued Central boys drop a 56-50 decision.
The Rebels led 37-32 with 7:20 to play, but were outscored 18-3 over the next four minutes that included a stretch of 10 unanswered D’burg points after the game was deadlocked at 40.
Shaky ball handling throughout the contest proved to be Obion Central’s undoing as they committed 26 turnovers — 22 of those by its primary ballhandlers.
The Rebel teams have a pair of district encounters on the schedule this week, Tuesday at home vs. Ripley and Friday at South Gibson.
OC 61, Dyersburg 51 (G)
Goodman put in 10 of her markers in the second frame when OC took the lead for good and was perfect on eight attempts from the charity stripe in the third period as the Lady Rebels built a double-digit lead at 44-34 at the 2:34 mark.
Paige Hicks, who tallied 15 points for the winners, made a pair of critical 3-pointers among that total — one in the third stanza after D’burg had cut a nine-point deficit to 38-34 and the other that stretched Central’s lead back to twin figures (49-38) early in the fourth quarter.
And while OC struggled somewhat at different intervals from the charity stripe (23-of-36 overall), it was solid when needed from there as Brooke Jennings hit four straight and Shannon Wiggins dropped in a pair when the Lady Rebs hit 7-of-8 with under three minutes to go.
Understandably, Central head coach Lyle LaRue pointed to Goodman as the key to his club’s ninth straight triumph.
“Because she’s so effective around the basket, Brandi makes teams make a decision on how they’re going to defend her,” LaRue explained. “When we played them earlier at their place, they doubled down on her immediately, and we had some other girls step up from the outside and make shots. Tonight, they decided to just play her straight up and she had her way against single coverage. She’s added about five feet to her game each year she’s been on this level, and she’s comfortable and effective from about 10-to-12 feet away from the basket.
“It was a big win for us against a high-quality opponent, but we tried not to make a big deal out of it in our preparations. About the only thing special we did was change defenses with regularity. We played four different defenses. We got to the foul line a lot compared to them, but that was a result of us attacking the rim and them settling for 3-point shots.”
Central indeed attempted 27 more free throws than the Lady Trojans. Dyersburg, though, shot 31 times from beyond the arc, making just six.
Kay K. Tate led D’burg with 21 points.
Dyersburg 56, OC 50 (B)
Despite making just seven first-half field goals and trailing essentially all of that time, the Rebels took their first lead since the early going when LaPrince Gauldin scored in the third period.
A bucket by Bryan Morris just before the end of the quarter and two free throws by Zack King 40 seconds into the final frame had OC on top 37-32.
Continued turnover issues kept Central from adding to that advantage, though, and allowed the visitors to pull even at 40. That’s when Blake Parr drained a pair of 3-pointers — sandwiched around another by Jamal Fleming — to highlight a burst of 10 straght Trojan points.
Shaw Logan finally ended the Rebel drought with his own trey at the 1:58 mark and an old-fashioned 3-point play by Morris shaved the gap to 50-46 a half-minute later.
Obion Central didn’t make another field goal, though, until Eric Torres hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that only made the losing margin smaller.
“There’s no way your primary ballhandlers should turn the ball over as many times as we did with just a month left in the season,” a disappointed Rebel coach Bill Kail said afterward. “If this was early in the season, it’d be one thing. But it’s not.
“We should be able to see things and make any adjustments needed at this stage. We couldn’t even make the simplest one, though, and that’s discouraging.”
Morris had 15 points and King 12 to pace the Rebels. Parr had 15 of his game-high 19 in the fourth quarter.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 1.23.12

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