By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Admittedly, it wasn’t Obion Central’s best effort.
Thankfully, it didn’t have to be.
The third-ranked Lady Rebels made the best out of what could accurately be termed as a so-so performance, beating visiting Chester County 66-47 in the Region 7AA Tournament quarterfinals Friday night.
The big-picture best news was that the victory put OC (30-2) into the tourney semifinals tonight where the Rebel girls will face No. 8 Dyersburg (28-5) at 7:30.
Due to a District 13AA sweep of District 14 in the opening round of the regional event, both the semis and Wednesday’s championship game have been moved to Dyersburg High School from Lexington.
Westview (20-11) will play Covington (22-10) in tonight’s first game at 6 o’clock.
Obion Central surived its first round game against CC Friday without its A-Game as the team played with understandably heavy hearts following the sudden and unexpected death of the mother (Teresa Dodd) of senior twin players Whitney and Brittney Dodd.
A moment of silence was observed before the game, followed by a prayer for the family, and easily the biggest ovation of the night was reserved for the sisters, who saw action as reserves in both halves.
Perhaps emotionally spent or maybe rusty from a six-night layoff, the Lady Rebels never showed the true form that had them dominate most of their earlier opponents in what is now just the fourth 30-win season in school history.
“I just think we looked like we were tired,” Obion Central head coach Lyle LaRue said aferward. “We looked like we didn’t have our legs but, more than anything else, I think we were just mentally spent. It’s been a tough last couple of weeks around here with injuries and illnesses, and especially a really tough last couple of days with the death of ‘Momma Dodd.’
“There’s no ‘guide’ books in how you deal with something like this, though; you just hope to be able to get through it for the kids sake and do enough to get by and advance team-wise.”
Brandi Goodman continued a season-long trend of being unstoppable in the paint against undersized opponents, finishing with 27 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
Goodman had 12 of those markers and three rejections in the fourth quarter when OC went on an 18-2 run over a 51⁄2-minute span to put the Lady Eagles away after Chester County had drawn within 48-42 on a Darby Miskelly 3-pointer at the 5:42 mark.
Macy Wright, who finished with 13 points and capped that flurry and a sequence of 12 straight Central markers with four consecutive free throws after she, Paige Hicks and Brooke Jennings had earlier made buckets in the stretch.
The Lady Rebels never trailed after Jennins’ 3-pointer when the game was barely two minutes old and enjoyed their second double-digit advantage (29-19) at the half when Ali McEwen scored as the intermission horn sounded.
The difference grew to as many as 15 points halfway through the third stanza after Hicks and Wright made single foul shots before CC, which ended its season with a 16-15 record, gradually cut into that deficit and got as close as six before Central’s clinching surge.
LaRue said his team’s listlessness was a concern.
“From a physical standpoint, we should be fine because we hadn’t played in a week. Maybe six days rest was too much,” the coach said.
“It looked ugly, but it was functional. We say we really didn’t play very well, but you look up and we scored 66 points. A lot of teams would call that a great night.”
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.27.12