Central puts brakes on Lady Chargers’ plans
Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 1:09 pm
Contrary to popular opinion, “stall ball” was not the single biggest reason Westview lost to Obion Central 54-46 in the District 13AA Tournament semifinals Thursday.
That distinction belonged to the Lady Rebels’ Brooke Jennings.
Jennings scored a career-high 16 points — six of those on back-to-back 3-pointers as third-ranked OC opened the contest with 14 unanswered markers to put the Lady Chargers in a hole they could never get out of.
Jennings’ unexpected early prowess and 4-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc for the game was somewhat lost in the decision of Westview coach Sean Stephenson to hold the ball for over seven minutes of the opening period in an attempt to dictate the pace of the game.
Two turnovers in the final half-minute of that first quarter led to Central points and a 10-0 lead, and the Lady Rebels then scored twice more in the early stages of the second period to go up 14-0 before the Chargers girls got on the board.
Westview then actually outscored OC the rest of the way, getting as close five points (24-19) early in the third stanza and as close as 49-43 with a minute to play on a rare 4-point play by freshman Tiffany Rechis.
Stephenson, who employed a similar slowdown gameplan the last time the two teams played and with similar results, explained that strategy afterward.
“We need for the game to be in the upper-30s or low-40s when we play Obion Central,” the coach claimed. “We have to pick and choose when and how much we play them in the open court because they’re so explosive and that’s not our game.
“Once you get in a hole, though, it makes it so tough. I was proud of our kids for not getting rattled and coming back and having a chance, but give Jennings credit. We wanted her to have to make shots for them to beat us, and she did. When you hold the other team’s two best players (Goodman and Wright) to a combined 18 points, and they have two others (Jennings and Hicks) combine for 30, you have to tip your cap to them.”
Almost as critical as Jennings’ early marksmanship from the perimeter was the final six seconds of the first period when Hicks made two free throws after the Lady Chargers had thrown the ball away following their aforementioned seven-minute delay. A Hicks steal was then converted into a made-layup by teammate Shannon Wiggins at the buzzer to give the county locals a 10-0 shutout in the quarter.
Ali McEwen’s two foul shots and her stickback follow Wright’s steal stretched the lead to 14 in the first 30 seconds of the second canto.
After Kayley Leyhue finally got Westview on the scoreboard with a free throw, Teddy Vincent made the Lady Chargers’ first field goal at 6:43 of the stanza.
Hicks’ triple gave Central a double-digit halftime lead (24-14) after the Lady Chargers had trimmed the difference to seven on Kayley Leyhue’s bucket. The Lady Rebels borrowed a page from the Westview playbook and milked nearly the final three minutes off the clock in the first half without attempting a shot.
Published in The WCP 2.21.12