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Goodman, Wiggins shine as Lady Rebs advance

Goodman, Wiggins shine as Lady Rebs advance
Sports Editor
MURFREESBORO — It all came down to what Brandi Goodman did and what Shannon Wiggins kept Elizabeth Masengil from doing.
Goodman scored 14 of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter and Wiggins did a lock-down defensive job on McMinn Central’s two-time Miss Basketball finalist to lead third-ranked Obion Central to a 69-60 win over the reigning champions in the Class 2A girls’ state tournament Wednesday.
The quarterfinal triumph — OC’s school-record 34th win in 36 games this year — put the Lady Rebels into Friday’s Final 4, where they will face Stone Memorial (23-12), a 35-28 winner over Waverly, in an 11:30 matchup. No. 1 Livingston Academy (33-3) and unranked Christ Presbyterian Academy (34-3) will play in the first of two semifinals at 10 a.m.
The two victors will then face off at 2 p.m. Saturday for the double-A crown.
Goodman, who missed nearly half the second quarter with three fouls and entered the period with nary another to give, dominated in the paint when the game was on the line.
She scored on Obion Central’s first two possessions of the fourth quarter to widen what was only a one-point cushion and capped a telling run with an old-fashioned 3-point play with the last of her several baseline spin-moves that set up short fadeaway jumpers.
Goodman, who threw in a halfcourt shot at the end of the opening period for her first 3-pointer of the season, made 8-of-13 field goals in all and ripped down 13 rebounds before ultimately fouling out with 1:34 to go.
Equally as critical to the Lady Rebel triumph was the job Wiggins did on Masengil in OC’s box-and-one defensive set.
Wiggins — face-guarding Masengil and keeping her touches to a minimum — allowed the Chargerette star to get off but eight shots total and forced her into a couple of frustration fouls in the late going in what was ultimately a 13-point effort that was 11 shy of her seasonal average.
It was a game plan that worked just as Obion Central head coach Lyle LaRue drew it up.
“We just decided with the point discrepancy between their No. 1 scorer and their No. 2 — which is about 16 points — we were going to limit Masengil’s opportunities,” the Lady Rebel skipper said.
“Shannon is our best on-ball defender, and she’s drawn the toughest individual assignment of most everybody we’ve played all season. She did a fantastic job on her and I thought really forced her into taking some bad shots and committing some fouls out of frustration.
“That’s what a box-and-one is supposed to do — limit a great player’s scoring opportunities.”
Wiggins said she simply followed her coach’s orders.
“He (LaRue) just told me to make sure she didn’t catch the ball,” the junior defensive specialist said afterward. “I think playing against really good players all year in our district helped me.
“I could really tell she was getting a little frustrated late.”
A spinning 3-point play by Macy Wright to open the second half gave Obion Central the lead for good at 30-28 and began an 11-2 run in which Wright also made four consecutive free throws after Ali McEwen had scored from underneath. The Lady Rebels shut down MC at the same time, holding the Chargerettes to 1-of-9 shooting and three turnovers to build a 38-30 lead.
McMinn, which set a state tournament record with 34 attempted 3-pointers, finally got a couple to go when Kelsey Young made back-to-back triples to cut into her team’s deficit before Masengil banked in a 27-footer at the third quarter horn to shave the difference to 40-39.
That’s when Goodman took over, scoring seven of her team’s next nine points. Wright pitched in 10 of her 21 markers that matched Goodman’s game-high honors and OC three times built a lead as big as 11.
McMinn, which took 30 more shots in the game than Obion Central, hit just 9-of-34 from beyond the arc — 4-of-20 in the first half when it still led at the intermission 28-27.
“We made the decision to give them the 3 (pointer), and except for one stretch there in the third quarter when they made a few, they really struggled,” LaRue continued. “They were open, they just didn’t knock shots down.
“When we got to the fourth quarter and crunch time, we just said ‘Macy and Brandi, you have four fouls, but you’re going to play.’ They’ve been in foul trouble so many times, they should be used to it by now.”
While Goodman and Wright were indeed saddled with foul difficulties and were forced to sit during stretches of the contest, the Lady Rebels did go to the foul line 39 times (making 23), compared to just 7-of-13 for the Chargerettes.
That discrepancy prompted critical comments from veteran coach Johnny Morgan, whose club was seeking its third consecutive appearance in the finals.
“I’ve never said this before. But you know what I think the difference was? The officiating. I’ve never said that in the 15 years I’ve been over here. They didn’t call it the same on both ends. That’s what I think the difference was,” he said.
Prior to that, however, he gave the Lady Rebels credit.
“The team that beat us was better than us today,” Morgan said.
Typical of their season in which seemingly a different role player has stepped up every night to aid Goodman and Wright, Paige Hicks had 11 points and McEwen 10 to give OC four in double figures — each tallying at critical junctures.
“I really thought we got more comfortable as the game went on,” LaRue concluded. “I thought we did a great job of knowing when to attack when we broke their pressure, and knowing when it was the right thing to set up in our halfcourt offense.”
Masengil added 13 rebounds to her point total for MC, but was one of three players to foul out in the waning moments.
Young was another, but totaled 16 points — hitting 4-of-7 from 3-point range — to lead the Chargerettes in scoring.
Kelsey Young 6-14 0-0 16, Elizabeth Masengil 6-8 0-4 13, Elizabeth Trentham 2-7 6-6 10, Williams 3-10 0-0 7, Coleman 1-8 1-3 4, Casteel 1-8 0-0 3, Williams 1-7 0-0 3, Morrow 1-8 0-0 2, Cowart 1-2 0-0 2, Truelove 0-0 0-0 0, Pirkle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-72 7-13 60.
Brandi Goodman 8-13 4-9 21, Macy Wright 6-8 9-12 21, Paige Hicks 3-7 5-10 11, Ali McEwen 3-7 4-4 10 Jennings 1-2 1-2 3, Wiggins 1-5 0-0 3, Flippin 0-0 0-2 0, W. Dodd 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-42 23-39 69.
MC    11    17    11    21    —    60
OC    13    14    13    29    —    69
3-Point Goals — McMinn Central 9-34 (Williams 1-5, Casteel 1-8, Young 4-7, Masengil 1-1, Morrow 0-3, Williams 1-4, Coleman 1-6), Obion Central 2-8 (Jennings 0-1, Wiggins 1-4, Goodman 1-1, Hicks 0-2). Fouled Out — Young, Masengil, Williams, Goodman. Rebounds — McMinn Central 43 (Masengil 13), Obion Central 41 (Goodman 13). Assists — McMinn Central 9 (Williams 3), Obion Central 8 (Hicks 3). Total Fouls — McMinn Central 27, Obion Central 16. Published in The Messenger 3.8.12