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Turnovers, missed free throws haunt Green Ridge

January 7, 2013
Green Ridge High School



The Green Ridge Lady Tigers suffered a case of basketball amnesia Saturday in the championship game of the Otterville Holiday Classic girls basketball tournament.

The Lady Tigers struggled in both the first and third quarters, and top-seeded Tuscumbia beat them 67-62.

Tuscumbia (8-1) came out with  its full-court, trapping defense in both halves, and the Lady Tigers  struggled.

“That’s what’s surprising,” Green Ridge coach Donnie Mayes said. “It was basketball amnesia. Normally, we handle that stuff OK. We knew they were a mirror image of us. For some reason, we let it get into our heads after a couple of steals.”

The Lady Tigers (9-3) got into foul trouble  early, too. Haley Niceswander drew her third foul in the opening quarter, and Ragin Dillon had two.

Unlike the rest of the game, Tuscumbia made its free throws, going 8 of 13 and taking a 15-9 lead into the second quarter.

Free-throw shooting became a thorn in the Lady Lions’ side the rest of the way. They went 6 of 22 from the line.

“Most of the game was horrible,” Tuscumbia coach Kyle Middleton said of his team’s free-throw shooting. “We normally shoot 60 percent, and we come here and lay an egg.”

Fortunately for Tuscumbia, the Lady Tigers were worse. They made only 8 of 26 attempts with the game’s leading scorer, Libby Dove, going 3 for 15.

“Libby is beating herself up right now. She missed a bunch of free throws that she normally doesn’t miss,” Mayes said. “Getting her back grounded and  realizing  no one is going to shoot 100 percent every night, that’s going to be key. She’s harder on herself than I could ever be. If she lets it eat at her, it’s just going to snowball.”

The poor free-throw shooting didn’t indicate the kind of game Dove played. She finished with 23 points and 19 rebounds.

Dove was a big reason why the Lady Tigers took the lead away from Tuscumbia in the second quarter. She scored 10 points in the second, and the Lady Tigers outscored the top seed  25-17 to take a 34-29 halftime lead.

However, she drew her third foul with 3:28 remaining and went to the bench. She returned in the second half and stayed in the game until the end.

Green Ridge went over the top of the Lady Lions’ defense a couple of times in the second quarter for easy baskets.

Tuscumbia dialed up the pressure again in the third quarter, playing a hand in 11 Green Ridge turnovers.

The Lady Lions outscored Green Ridge 17-5 in the third, and took a 46-39 lead into the final quarter.

Tempary Gunter did her part for the Lady Lions in the fourth quarter. She scored nine of her team-high 18 points in the final period.

However, the Lady Tigers made a big charge in the fourth, climbing within two points with 1:15 to play.

Green Ridge used runs of 8-0 and 11-2 to cut its deficit to 61-58 with two minutes to play.

After a driving layup by  Takayla Gunter, the Lady Tigers’ Samantha Unkel made a 3-pointer with 1:15 to play, and Tuscumbia’s lead shrunk to 63-61.

Tristen Patterson drove the lane for a basket to increase the Lady Lions’ lead to 65-60. Dove then missed a pair of key free throws that could have cut their lead to three. She scored on a fast break from under the bucket with about 10 seconds remaining, but Tuscumbia sandwiched a pair of free throws around Dove’s basket to preserve the win.

Kendra Vaughan joined Tempary Gunter in double figures with 16 points each, and Summer Rush had 10.

Both were on the bench at the end of the game, though. Vaughan fouled out with 3:58 to play, and Rush fouled out with 30.4 seconds left.

Overall, four players fouled out. Clare Chamberlin drew her fifth foul with 1:31 to play, and Niceswander drew her fifth with 13.9 seconds to go.

“Green Ridge was even more physical than us,” Middleton said. “We kind of knew that coming in.  We knew that Dove and Chamberlin were going to beat us up inside.”

Chamberlin joined Dove in double figures with 14 points, Dillon had 13 and Unkel had 10


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