Record-setting Lady Rebs make visitors unwelcome

Record-setting Lady Rebs make visitors unwelcome
Record-setting Lady Rebs make visitors unwelcome | Record-setting Lady Rebs make visitors unwelcome
By MIKE HUTCHENS
Sports Editor
Oakhaven arrived at Obion County Central High School Saturday night less than 20 minutes before the scheduled 7 o’clock tip-off for its sectional game.
Maybe the Lady Hawks knew what was coming.
Third-ranked Obion Central overwhelmed the Memphians from the get-go, scoring 15 of the game’s first 16 points in what was ultimately an 80-49 romp that netted the Lady Rebels a berth in the Class 2A state tournament.
OC, which also established a new single-season school record with its 33rd victory in 35 games, was paired against McMinn Central via a blind draw Sunday in its first round state tourney game in Murfreesboro Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.
Central will be making its 14th state tournament trip in the 51-season history of the program after outclassing Oakhaven on Saturday before a largely pro-OCCHS crowd that reportedly began lining up at 2:45 for the contest.
The Lady Rebels certainly didn’t disappoint their throng of supporters that numbered more than 1,400 — according to Athletic Director Craig Rogers — as they jumped on the Hawks almost as soon as they got off the bus.
Brooke Jennings’ 3-pointer a half-minute into the game got Obion Central off and running and the Rebel girls were up 15-1 just over three minutes in after forcing the visitors into six turnovers and two timeouts by the Oakhaven coaching staff right off the bat.
OC center Brandi Goodman (32 points, 17 rebounds) was again virtually unstoppable inside with another in a long list of double-doubles, and had 10 of those points in the opening frame. After Macy Wright’s layup just before the first-quarter horn, it was 25-7 in favor of the Lady Rebels and virtually over.
“I’m not sure if we could’ve had better timing,” Central head coach Lyle LaRue said afterward. “Because they got here when they did and had been on the road for two hours, they came in the door about the time we were going to run out. The music started, the fans got on their feet and got loud, and I’m sure that they aren’t used to that kind of environment for their games.
“It had to shake them up a little.”
The lopsided 31-point Obion Central win represented the largest margin of any of the eight Class 2A sectional games played on Saturday.
And though play bordered on being rough at times, the Lady Rebels were simply too fast, too quick and essentially just too good for Oakhaven, which concluded its season with a 17-9 record.
“We talk often about ‘happy time.’ That means not letting someone hang around and get happy when you have a chance to put them away,” LaRue said. “I thought we did a good job of jumping on them early and not letting them up. We didn’t necessarily always play well when we got the big lead, but we never let them really have any hope of coming back, either.
“We wanted to play fast and we did. We wanted to press as long as we could, but we had a little foul problems that took us out of that in the second quarter. Still, 48 points in a half is pretty good and tough to keep up with if you’re the other team.”
Goodman also had 10 points in the second period and was part of a near-flawless free throw shooting exhibition put on by OC in the first half when it hit 17-of-18 as a team. Goodman made all six of her attempts during that time and Paige Hicks was perfect in four tries to offset a subpar outside shooting effort by the county locals, who made just one of more than a dozen attempts from beyond the arc.
“We want to get the ball inside by dribble or pass, and with that philosophy, you’re going to get to the free throw line,” said LaRue, whose club went 30-of-34 (88 percent) from the charity stripe for the entire game. “And we’re going to have games from now on where how we shoot free throws is going to determine whether we win or lose.
“Eighty-eight percent will certainly enhance our chances of winning.”
Up 48-29 at the half and despite having lost some of its earlier intensity, the Lady Rebels widened the gap in the second half and eventually invoked the 35-point mercy rule after Hicks’ 3-pointer with 3:25 showing that made it 77-41.
Goodman came out of the game with a little more than five minutes left, with Wright following less than a minute later as LaRue emptied his bench in the waning moments.
Wright and Hicks both scored 11 points to give OC three players in double figures.
GAME NOTES: The Lady Rebels improved to 10-2 all-time in sectional/substate games — not including a two-year stint in which the TSSAA went to a three-round sectional tournament that preceded the state tourney in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. … Central’s last state tournament trip came in 2004-05, when they lost a heartbreaking double-overtime first-round game to Knoxville Austin-East. …OC’s all-time state tournament record is 3-13, with the girls’ best finish being a runnerup showing in 1984-85, when it lost to Humboldt in the finals in the fifth meeting of the season between the two. Obion Central had beaten South-Young of Knoxville (48-45) and David Lipscomb (58-50) in the first two rounds.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at mhutch@ucmessenger.com.
CLASS 2A
GIRLS SECTIONAL
OAKHAVEN  — 49
Derica Wiggins 17, Mar’shea Lewis 12, Walton 6, Stoward 5, Woodall 4, Webb 3, McClathchey 2.
OBION CENTRAL — 80
Brandi Goodman 32, Macy Wright 11, Paige Hicks 11, Jennings 7, McEwen 6, Wiggins 6, W. Dodd 4, Flippen 2, Daniel 1.
Oakhaven   7   22   9    11 —  49
Obion Co. 25   23   15   17 —  80
Records: Oakhaven 17-9; OC 33-2.
Next Games: OC faces McMinn Central in the Class 2A state tournament, Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. in Murfreesboro. Oakhaven’s season ends. Published in The Messenger 3.5.12

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