By MIKE HUTCHENS
Messenger Sports Editor
Plan B worked out pretty well for the Obion Central girls.
Changing strategies from an earlier meeting in which they lost to fifth-ranked Westview, OC’s bigger lineup trumped the Lady Chargers’ perimeter play and led to a 47-40 upset Tuesday night in Troy.
The inside tandem of Brandi Goodman and Dianna Flippen dominated the interior against much-smaller Martin, combining for 30 of Central’s final total as the Lady Rebels scored all their points outside the paint until the third quarter and led essentially from wire-to-wire while avenging an earlier nine-point loss.
The victory means the race for the District 13AA regular season championship and top tournament seed likely will go down to the wire Friday when Central (23-6, 14-2) plays at second-ranked Covington (26-3, 16-1). If the Lady Rebels win that game and today’s makeup contest vs. South Gibson and if Westview (23-4, 15-2) beats Crockett County Friday, there will be a three-way tie for the title — resulting in a coin flip.
A loss either today or Friday, combined with a Westview victory at CC, means OC will place third in the final standings.
League coaches are to meet this evening and make plans for such instances in the bracket-drawing process.
The Obion Central boys came up just short of an upset themselves, leading for the majority of the nightcap before a run of 13 unanswered points rallied the Chargers to a 79-73 victory.
Shaw Logan poured in a game-high 27 points and both Zack King (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Brett Scillion (12 points, 10 boards) recorded double-doubles, but Westview’s superior athleticism proved to be the difference down the stretch and the visitors put five players in double figures scoring-wise.
OC (12-13, 6-10) is already penciled into a Saturday play-in game in the 13AA Tournament on Saturday night against either South Gibson, Gibson County or Milan — no matter Central’s outcome in its final two regular season games. The Rebels will be a seven-seed and will play the No. 10 team in the district event.
OC 47, Westview 40 (G)
With usual starter Paige Hicks nursing a sprained ankle and in a reserve role, Central head coach Lyle LaRue opted to insert Flippen into the lineup alongside Goodman.
The move paid dividends from the get-go with Flippen scoring seven of her nine total points in the first quarter and Goodman tallying 14 of her game-best 21 total over the first two periods when the duo combined for all of OC’s points.
“They (Westview) play essentially with four guards and sometimes five now, and we’ve been trying to match up with them when we’ve played them before,” LaRue explained of his game plan. “That’s been real tough on us, so tonight we thought we’d try something different and give them some matchup problems with our size inside with a three-out-and-two-in look.
“And it worked pretty well.”
Just as telling as OC’s big lineup were Westview’s shooting struggles.
The Lady Chargers — built basically on their perimeter play — made just four first-half field goals…just one in the second quarter. Seasonal leading scorer Teddy Vincent was held without a point in the first half, while No. 2 point-maker Tiffany Rechis had but a single 3-point field goal.
“They have so many good shooters, and it’s just hard for us to cover them all,” LaRue said. “We were fortunate in that they didn’t have a good shooting night.”
Central led 21-10 at the half and by as many as 12 (29-17) after Rachel Jones finally gave the Lady Rebs a bucket from outside the paint with one of her two third-quarter 3-pointers.
Westview did heat up some over the final two periods and made things interesting before OC made 11-of-16 fourth-quarter free throws, securing the victory without making a single field goal in the final stanza.
Vincent’s 3-pointer got Martin as close as 36-31 with just under six minutes to play, and the Lady Chargers got within six points on three other occasions down the stretch.
Kendall Leyhue and Kaitlyn Harrelson had nine points apiece to pace Westview in scoring.
Westview 79, OC 73 (B)
As has been the case in several of their losses, one bad stretch cost the Rebels at a chance for a significant win.
“It’s been the third quarter a lot, but this time it was the fourth,” Central head coach Bill Kail said of the aforementioned span that saw the Chargers overtake his team and earn a hard-fought win. “There was a period there just before the half, too, when we quit attacking them and getting the ball inside, and they were able to cut into our lead.
“The bottom line is, we just have to take better care of the basketball.”
OC had 23 turnovers in all — four during the critical four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter when it went from a 60-58 lead after Logan’s bucket, to a 71-60 deficit with 2:50 to play.
King and Scillion used their superior height to score at will in the early going and helping Central to as much as a 12-point lead in the first period and a 13-point advantage in the second frame.
King had 12 of his 17 markers in the opening eight minutes, scoring on three consecutive possessions at one point.
But the Chargers — employing significantly-better quickness and pushing the tempo to a sometimes frenzied pace with fullcourt pressure — gradually erased the Rebels’ advantage.
It was 58-56, OC, entering the final frame when Eric Torres made three free throws after being fouled at the horn.
Logan’s bucket with just under seven minutes showing gave Central its last lead at 60-58 before a 3-pointer by Westview’s Tyquis Johnson put the Charger in front for good. Johnson sank a second 3-pointer, Javier Gordon scored inside, Jazell Baker made a bucket and Jordan Davis capped the flurry with two foul shots before Logan stopped the bleeding for Obion Central with a 3-pointer with 2:50 to go.
The Rebels got no closer thereafter than the final margin.
Baker’s 20 points topped Westview (22-6, 14-3), which will finish either second or third — depending on Friday’s result vs. Crockett County — in the final 13AA regular season standings.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.6.13