By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
With a pair of fellow starters out sick, Macy Wright stole the show for Obion Central — both literally and figuratively.
Wright recorded 11 steals to go along with a career-high 36 points and finished with a triple-double to lead the third-ranked Lady Rebels to an 86-73 victory over Ripley Tuesday night in the District 13AA Tournament quarterfinals.
The perk for top-seeded OC’s 27th win in 29 starts is at least three more games this season — the first a berth in Thursday’s tourney semifinals at Dyersburg High School opposite Westview, a 54-32 victor over Gibson County Tuesday at Troy. Central will then play Saturday in either the championship or consolation game and has also now qualified for the Region 7AA Tournament that begins late next week.
The Lady Rebs can thank Wright for that as she essentially put on an all-around clinic in Thursday’s district quarterfinal game against eighth-seeded Ripley.
The senior guard, who went over the 1,500-point mark for her career recently, picked up the slack in all facets of her game with Obion Central missing leading scorer and rebounder Brandi Goodman (stomach virus) for the second straight game, and with Ali McEwen suffering from strep throat and dressed but not seeing playing time.
Wright had 22 of her game-best point total in the second half when OC finally pulled away after the scrappy Lady Tigers had hung around and were within 50-44 with 4:30 left in the third period.
She scored 14 in the fourth quarter when putting an exclamation on a final stat line that also included seven rebounds and 10 assists to help OC win its highest-scoring game of the season.
“I think Macy just looked around and saw a bunch of players on the court with her that she’s not used to playing with because of the two we had sick and then when (Shannon) Wiggins went out with a jammed finger. And she just took over,” Central head coach Lyle LaRue said while shaking his head at Wright’s all-around performance. “I think that ‘senior drive’ kicked in and there was no way she was going to let this be her last game.”
Paige Hicks also stepped up for OC, scoring 16 points — 11 of those in the third stanza when the Lady Rebels started distancing themselves from the visitors in the late-going. Hicks made a 3-pointer to make sure Ripley would get no closer than six, then sank two free throws and a bucket from in close at the horn to widen the game to 64-50 entering the stretch run.
A Wright 3-pointer to open the fourth put Ripley in an even bigger hole and Central was never again seriously threatened.
“It was classic ‘survive and advance,’ and that’s all you need to be concerned with this time of the year,” LaRue continued. “At times, it looked like a sixth-grade game rebounding-wise. This is the reason why you play for that top seed in the regular season, where you can have a game like this where you might not play as well as you can, but you still move on.
“We were just trying to get to Thursday night because that means at least three more games, and we’re there now.”
OC never trailed after the early going, taking a lead on Hicks’ triple barely two minutes in to go in front for good 7-5. Two buckets by Kelsey Gibson late in the opening frame gave the host team its first double-figure lead.
Brooke Jennings joined Wright and Hicks in double figures scoring-wise with 10 points for the victors.
Kiniesha Maclin (27) and Lillian Franklin combined for 48 points in the Lady Eagles, who concluded their 2011-12 season.
Westview 54, GC 32
The Lady Chargers put on a defensive clinic to avenge two losses in three regular season meetings with the Pioneer girls and move on to Thursday’s semis against Obion Central.
Playing lockdown man defense, Westview held GC without a single point for more than 13 minutes from early in the second period until late in the third when they went from down 15-14 to a 19-point lead (34-15).
During that time, the Lady Pioneers committed 13 turnovers and missed more than a dozen field goal attempts.
Teddy Vincent tallied a team-high 16 points, but it was the all-around play of junior Jasmine Howard, who had 12 points and totally shut down Gibson County’s Courtney Haynes (two points in the fourth quarter) that was most critical for the Lady Chargers (19-9)
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 2.15.12