|2400 Dobbs Drive :: Phenix City, AL 36870 :: 334.298.3626 tel :: 334.298.7690 fax|
|William Henry Shaw Christmas Tournament:
Lady Red Devils reverse last year's title game result against Kendrick
December 31, 2011
Story by: Jeff Henderson
girls championship of the William Henry Shaw Christmas Tournament was a
rematch of last years title game between Kendrick and Central-Phenix
City. The outcome, though, was different, as Central dominated the middle
two quarters to beat Kendrick 50-46.
The Cherokees did their best in the first quarter to make this years result the same as 2010, jumping out to a 16-8 lead at the first break.
Central coach Carolyn Wright, who has seen her share of Christmas tournament championship games in her 20 years at the helm, made adjustments.
We didnt match up well, she said. Wed leave one girl open in the backcourt. We made these adjustments on the defensive end, and it worked out pretty well.
The proof of that is in the box score. Kendrick combined to score 30 points in the first and fourth quarters but just 16, eight in each, in the second and third quarters.
The defense made the difference, Wright said. Im really happy with the way the girls reacted to the pressure out there. One of those players is Jimechia Banks, who had six steals in the game on her way to being named the tournaments MVP on the girls side.
We know we can play with anybody, Banks said outside the locker room of Columbus
Lumpkin Center. We wanted this game, and we worked hard for it. This
was a great team effort.
The team effort is exhibited in the balanced scoring for the Lady Red Devils. Juel Beasley led the offensive effort with 13 points, including hitting five of six attempts from the free-throw line. Portia Watkins was the only other Central player in double figures, scoring 10, four of those in the fourth quarter.
Last years game, a 53-41 Kendrick victory that saw the Cherokees pull away after leading by just a point after three quarters, wasnt far from Wrights mind.
Were certainly a different team, Wright, who says this is her second Christmas tournament title, said. But Im still really proud. We have good ballhandlers. We can play this kind of game. We just needed to stay patient and not be in such a rush to pass the ball.
We are going to rejoice on this win. Last year, they were
ones to beat us out for the championship, so this time we were going to
try to leave no stone unturned, said Wright, who was decked out in
all red to receive the championship trophy and commemorative game ball.
Khalia Lawrence was the most aggressive and most effective of Kendricks players, scoring 22 points and grabbing five steals. Sierra Porter had eight points for the Cherokees and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Things dont get any easier for Central.
The Lady Red Devils play host to Hardaway, the only team to trip them up in 17 games season, next Saturday. Hardaway beat Central 53-48 at home Dec. 10. Central got revenge with a 58-47 victory Thursday in this tournament.
going to do what we do best, Wright said about the game next Saturday.
Well run our full-court press and our fast-paced offense. Its
carried us this far, and well just keep going. Well stick with
Kendrick 16 8 8 14--46
Central-PC 8 14 16 12--50
Khalia Lawrence 22, Tower 2, Porter 8, Jack 2, Merritt 2, Farley 4, Cheatham 6.
Central-Phenix City (50)
Juel Beasley 13, Portia Watkins 10, McMillon 3, Thomas 5, Webb 4, Cox 5, Shanks 1, Spencer 4.
Team records: Kendrick 6-4, Central 16-1.