Change of tactics helps Lady Lions overcome early scoring troubles
Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:00 pm
By MIKE HUTCHENS
It’s not how you start, but rather how you finish.
After not making a single first-quarter field goal, ninth-ranked Dresden changed strategies and roared back to hammer South Fulton 50-35 in opening round Region 7A Tournament play Thursday night.
The win sent the Lady Lions (24-6) into Saturday’s tourney semis where they lost 48-31 to Union City.
To get to Saturday’s round, Dresden overcame a poor-shooting opening canto with an aggressive approach that included attacking the basket at every opportunity and playing lock-down defense against the Devilettes, who posed just two legitimate threats offensively in Talleah Cross and Kalon Martin.
A 18-3 burst over the last seven minutes of the second quarter after SF had taken its largest lead at 13-9 on a Cross 3-pointer put the Lions in complete control.
Sophomore Amy McAlpin then took over for the Black and Gold in the second half, scoring 20 of her game-high 25 points during the final two periods on a variety of slashes and cuts to the basket. McAlpin’s second-half point total was actually one more than the entire South Fulton output combined and also represented all but three of her team’s aggregate.
“I’d have taken it, no question,” Dresden coach Jonathan West smiled when asked afterward if he could’ve envisioned his team missing its first 12 shots from the floor and still winning. “In some of our other games, when we didn’t shoot well, we didn’t defend well. That wasn’t the case tonight.
“And when we couldn’t make anything from the perimeter, we just started to attack and be aggressive in getting to the basket. When we didn’t convert, we got to the free throw line and knocked down some foul shots. I was really pleased that we didn’t get rattled and we didn’t let one end (offense) affect the other (defense).”
A strategy of limiting the damage by SF’s top two offensive threats — Cross and Kalon Martin — proved effective, too, as though invited regularly to shoot, the remaining Devilettes combined for just 11 points and did not make a bucket until the final minute of the third quarter.
“That was the plan, we wanted to make somebody other than Cross and Martin beat us,” West confirmed. “We knew they were good players and capable of giving us problems, but I thought we controlled them well and really did a nice job on everybody else.”
Center Allie Phillips used her superior size inside and proved to be a force with more than a half-dozen blocked shots.
Kristen Childress’ old-fashioned 3-point play gave Dresden a lead it would never lose at 14-13 as the Lady Lions scored on four consecutive possessions to jump-start their shaky offense.
The host club then converted three consecutive South Fulton turnovers into points via buckets by Alex Glisson, McAlpin and Carrie Hatchel to take their largest first-half lead, 27-15, just before the buzzer.
McAlpin put on a one-gal show in the third and fourth stanzas, hitting for 12 of Dresden’s 13 markers and then eight more in the fourth to widen the gap to as much as 50-28 with three minutes to play.
She had eight points during a stretch when the Lady Lions scored 10 straight after the Devilettes’ Cross made the first basket of the stretch run.
Cross and Martin finished with 12 apiece for South Fulton, which ended its season with a 19-12 record. Published in The WCP 2.28.12