Minus Goodman, OC girls stunned

Minus Goodman, OC girls stunned
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
All good things must come to an end.
Obion Central’s 46-game District 13AA win streak and likely its brief reign atop the Associated Press Class 2A state rankings are now nothing more than pleasant memories after Covington posted a 61-59 upset triumph in overtime over the Lady Rebels in the two teams’ regular season finale Friday in Troy.
The loss was OC’s first in league play since Dec. 11, 2009 and spoiled the Lady Rebs’ bid for back-to-back perfect runs through the district.
The result was meaningless otherwise, though, with 13AA’s postseason tournament pairings already set and Obion Central (26-2, 17-1) still the top seed heading into quarterfinal play tonight with Covington locked into the No. 3 spot.
OC will host two games tonight, playing eighth-seeded Ripley — a 73-58 winner over Milan in a play-in game Saturday — at 6:30, before Westview and Gibson County will square off in a matchup of No. 4 vs. No. 5 in a tourney nightcap. The winners of tonight’s games will play in the first of two semifinals Wednesday night at Dyersburg.
Friday’s setback that snapped Central’s long district winning streak as well as a 14-game overall run this year will be accompanied by an asterisk as the Lady Rebels were without their season leading scorer and rebounder (Brandi Goodman 18 ppg, 16 rpg) due to a strained quad muscle suffered Wednesday in practice.
In the nightcap, OC gave 13AA regular season champion Covington all it wanted before suffering a 42-31 loss.
Central bought itself at least one more game in the 2011-12 campaign the following night with a 68-56 victory in a postseason play-in game over South Gibson at Dyersburg. (see related story)
The seventh-seeded Rebels (12-15) will play at No. 2 and 10th-ranked Westview Tuesday night at 8 in a contest that will either extend their season three more games or end it.
Covington 61, OC 59 (G)
Without Goodman in the middle and after taking a 10-point first-quarter lead, the Lady Rebels blew some defensive assignments at critical times that allowed Covington to get back in the game and ultimately win it via Precious Dyson’s two free throws with 3.5 seconds left in overtime.
OC skipper Lyle LaRue hopes that the adversity of losing the close game, as well as some internal matters that came up in the hours before the game, will toughen up his troops for the postseason.
“Along with not having Brandi, we had two different girls on the team have a family member die today,” the coach said. “All those things together was a lot for a team to overcome. They say adversity makes you stronger, and we certainly had a share today and tonight.”
LaRue said he resisted the option of playing Goodman at less than 100 percent, hoping the extra time to heal will have her ready for tournament play.
Covington, which lost 52-50 at its place earlier in the season and which stalled the ball for over 71⁄2 minutes in the third period Friday, led by as many as seven points midway through the fourth quarter behind the 3-point shooting of Dyson, who made five of her team’s eight 3-pointers.
Macy Wright led a furious Central rally in the waning moments, though, her old-fashioned 3-point play getting the Lady Rebels within 53-52 with 52 seconds left before her driving bucket 10 seconds later ultimately forced the OT after each team turned the ball over in the final five seconds.
Down by as many as four points in the extra session, OC again fought back, tying the count at 58-all on a spinning 3-point play by Paige Hicks. The two teams then made 1-of-2 foul shots apiece over the next 28 seconds before Hicks missed a five-footer from the lane and fouled while trying to chase down the offensive rebounds with 3.5 seconds showing.
Dyson then calmly sank two freebies for the final margin.
“We had some breakdowns defensively where we just left some shooters wide-open and they made us pay,” LaRue added.
Hicks finished with 19 points, Wright added 14 and Ali McEwen hit for 11 for Obion Central.
Covington 42, OC 31 (B)
The Rebels played hard — especially on the defensive end — but anything but well on the offensive end, where they shot just 30 percent (10-of-33), failing to hit any of their 11 3-pointers while also committing 21 turnovers against Covington’s scrappy fullcourt pressure.
“Defensively, we executed like we needed to,” OC coach Bill Kail agreed. “When we took our time on offense, we got some shots we wanted and are capable of hitting. We just could never hit a 3-pointer or anything that would’ve given us some momentum.”
With points at a premium, Central scored the game’s first six and still led 14-10 at the 5:25 mark of the second period after Zack King twice made buckets.
The Chargers, creating some offensive chances with their pressure defense, scored 14 of the half’s final 20 points, though, to assume a 24-20 intermission edge.
Both teams again struggled to make shots in the third period, though OC did get hoops from Bryan Morris and Shaw Logan to draw even at 28 with 69 seconds left in the quarter.
A critical 3-pointer by Covington’s Jawan Alston just before the buzzer, though, gave the visitors the lead for good at 31-28.
The Rebels’ lone bucket in a 3-point fourth quarter came at the hands of Brett Scillion with 5:55 to play.
King finished with a team-high 11 points and also had eight rebounds. Morris grabbed 14 caroms.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 2.13.12

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