By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
A week changed nothing between the Obion Central girls and South Fulton.
It changed everything for the SF and OC boys.
Central, which beat the Devilettes by six points seven nights earlier, duplicated that margin with a 56-50 overtime triumph in the Game 1 rematch Tuesday night at Troy.
South Fulton reversed a double-digit loss to the Rebels in the nightcap, though, dominating the second half of Tuesday’s game much as OC had in their first meeting in what was a 68-56 Red Devil triumph.
The split left Obion Central at 3-1 in girls’ play and 2-1 on the boys’ side, while SF is 1-2 and 2-1, respectively.
Only the OC boys will play during the Thanksgiving break, facing USJ Friday at 1:30 in the Westview Thanksgiving Classic.
OC 56, SF 50, OT (G)
After South Fulton wasted a couple of opportunities to win the game in regulation, Central scored all six points made in the extra four-minute session to improve to 3-1 and sweep the season series.
Brandi Goodman’s free throw 31 seconds into overtime gave the Rebels the lead for good, and OC then got a bucket in the post from Goodman, two free throws by Ali McEwen and a charity toss by Rachel Jones to seal the victory.
The Devilettes, meanwhile, failed to score in the OT, missing twice from the field, having another shot rejected by Goodman and turning the ball over twice.
“I felt like we were fighting back the whole game and how we got back in the game was limiting them to one shot and we continued that in the overtime,” Central head coach Lyle LaRue said. “We got to the free throw line in overtime, too, and I thought we did a good job without Brandi on the floor when she was in foul trouble.”
South Fulton rode the early hot shooting hand of Laken Haley (three 3-pointers) to a 14-7 lead and was still up 25-24 at the half.
The Devilettes, who failed to capitalize on foul trouble that benched Goodman in both the second and third periods, took their biggest lead at 43-35 with just under seven minutes to play when freshman Taylor Rogers and 10th-grader Sydney Easterwood bottomed 3-pointers.
Central battled back, though, evening things up at 45-all when Rachel Jones sank a shot from beyond the arc with 3:45 showing.
The two teams swapped the lead four times down the stretch, OC going up 50-49 on a driving Paige Hicks’ bucket with 1:11 to go. South Fulton missed twice from the perimeter while the Lady Rebels turned the ball over on consecutive possessions before the Devilettes’ Taleeah Cross was fouled on a move to the basket with 2.2 seconds left.
Cross missed the first but made the second foul shot to force the overtime.
“We had the ball in the right people’s hands at the end, we just didn’t capitalize. It’s real simple,” South Fulton head coach Curt Lee said of his team’s inability to score during crunch time.
Goodman led all scorers with 21 points and Hicks added 14 for Obion Central, while Cross tallied 18 and Haley 15 for SF.
SF 68, OC 56 (B)
The Red Devils — who trailed by double digits for most of the second period and were down 35-25 at the half after a five-minute scoring drought — overwhelmed Central by a 43-21 count over the final two frames to avenge a similar loss to the Rebs last week.
In that game, OC outscored SF 49-29 in the second half.
An amped-up man Red Devil defense and the 3-point shooting of Josh Hollowell jump-started South Fulton’s impressive third-stanza play. Hollowell made a trio of 3-pointers in the eight-minute segment that saw the visitors outscore Obion Central 26-11. The last of Hollowell’s treys at the buzzer gave South Fulton a 51-45 lead.
“Us making shots seemed to fire us up to play a little harder on the defensive end,” SF skipper Wes Miller said. “We’d talked for a week about how we wanted to play them, and we didn’t do that in the first half.
“(Josh) Hollowell shoots like that every day in practice and I knew he was going to ultimately do it in a game. And I thought both Tevaris James and Keashawn McManus had great games inside, and T.J. Ingram really did a great job running the offense with very few mistakes.”
The long and athletic McManus and James were indeed dominant in the pant for the Devils, McManus finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while James had 17 markers and 10 boards. Ingram, a sophomore playmaker, was credited with 12 assists and no turnovers.
James was part of easily the most spectacular play of the night when he caught a perfect alley-oop feed from Harrison Hawks and jammed home a dunk early in the fourth quarter to put SF up by eight points.
Central, which made just 3-of-5 free throws compared to 20-of-31 for the Red Devils, led by as many as 11 (25-14) in the second frame after a Thomas Smith hoop that capped a run of 16 unanswered points.
But foul trouble incurred by the Rebs — especially inside — allowed South Fulton to get to the charity stripe early and often and was a huge factor when Central post players Zack King and Brett Scillion both picked up their fifth personals in the fourth quarter.
“Our post guys were fouling like crazy and that puts us in a huge bind depth-wise and put them on the free throw line in both the first and third quarters,” an obviously-displeased OC head coach Bill Kail said afterward.
Bryan Morris led Central with 14 points, with Shaw Logan tallying 13 and King 10. Mike Klein made a trio of 3-pointers and finished with nine markers.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 11.21.12