Lady Rebels run through Westview’s stop signs

Lady Rebels run through Westview’s stop signs
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Not even the stall tactics of Westview could “slow down” Obion Central.
The No. 1-ranked Lady Rebels survived the delay-game strategy of Martin Tuesday night, winning their 14th straight and for the 26th time in 27 games overall with a 42-29 triumph in Martin.
OC celebrated its standing atop the Class 2A Associated Press state poll announced on Monday with its 46th consecutive District 13AA victory and 31st in a row on the road in league play.
In doing so, Central foiled Westview’s approach of milking large chunks of time off the clock while not even attempting a shot or looking toward the basket in hopes of both frustrating the Lady Rebels and getting them out of their desired fast-pace tempo.
The move essentially backfired when the Chargers did not score a single point in a first period in which they tried just one shot.
Obion Central, meanwhile, scored but five during that time, but that was enough to put the host team in a catch-up mode with a 19-5 halftime lead being a lead too large for Westview to overcome.
The Charger boys used a decidedly-different scheme to dispatch OC 68-50 in the nightcap, speeding the game up with their superior quickness and athleticism from the opening tip.
Westview’s fullcourt pressure and transition game — coupled with six made 3-pointers over the first two quarters — was largely responsible for a 20-point first-half lead that Central could never really challenge thereafter.
The Rebel teams close the regular season portion of their respective schedules on Friday, hosting Covington.
The OC boys will then play in a do-or-die District 13AA Tournament play-in game Saturday at Dyersburg against either South Gibson or Milan at a time to be determined tonight when the league coaches meet to finalize the tourney brackets.
The Central girls — the regular season champions of the district for a second straight year — will host a quarterfinal game on Monday.
The Messenger will publish a complete bracket on Thursday.
OC 42, Westview 29 (G)
Lady Rebel skipper Lyle LaRue produced a text message sent to a friend earlier in the afternoon correctly predicting that Westview would attempt to stall in Tuesday’s opener.
And for the most part, the coach said he was pleased with his team’s reaction to the unorthodox style of counterpart Sean Stephenson.
“I thought we handled the mental side of it well, and we didn’t get frustrated,” LaRue said. “Of course, us getting the lead in the first quarter and them not scoring took some of the pressure off of us. That was really the important thing.”
Shannon Wiggins’ 3-pointer was the first quarter’s lone field goal by either team and put OC in front to stay three minutes into the game.
The Lady Chargers finally got on the scoreboard, but not until midway through the second period when Kendall Leyhue drained a triple to get her team within 7-3.
Westview (17-9, 11-6) would get no closer.
A deuce by Paige Hicks, a three-ball from Brooke Jennings and two free throws by Ali McEwen expanded Central’s lead to 15-3 before Teddy Vincent stuck home a rebound chance at the 1:30 mark to account for Martin’s only other field goal and points of the first half. It was 19-5 at the break.
Though Vincent twice pulled the Lady Chargers within 10 — first with a trey and then a 2-pointer — OC never rattled and actually pulled the delay-game trick itself, milking more than three minutes off the clock before Brandi Goodman converted a stickback. Macy Wright’s triple in the final minute of the quarter made it 27-12.
Wright had eight of her team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter, helping keep Westview at bay. She recorded an old-fashioned 3-point play on a slashing move to the goal, then hit 4-of-6 free throws in the final 69 seconds.
“This will help us come tournament time, because if someone else tries it, we will have seen it and there will be no panic when the stakes are different and higher,” LaRue added.
Goodman, double-teamed the entire night, finished with 11 points for Obion Central — seven of those in the final frame.
Westview 68, OC 50 (B)
Central simply couldn’t keep up with the 10th-ranked Chargers (21-5, 14-3) in the first half when the hosts built an insurmountable lead with impressive play.
A run of nine successive points during a stretch from late in the first quarter until early in the second that was capped by Jazelle Baker’s steal and layup gave Westview a 23-8 lead.
The margin grew to as much as 20 (41-21) late in the first half on Antonio Hogard’s bucket.
The Rebels’ bright spot came in the form of the play of Brett Scillion, who came off the bench to hit for seven points during one span in the second stanza on his way to a team-best 16 markers.
Hogard’s nine third-quarter points helped stretch the difference to as many as 27 points and OC got not closer than the final count.
“They can shoot the eyes out of it, and we didn’t block out at all,” Obion Central head coach Bill Kail said in a brief summary after the game.
Kail has also confirmed that Drake Richards and LaPrince Gauldin — two of the Rebels’ three seniors — had elected to leave the team after Senior Night festivities last week.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.8.12

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