The Richmond Register


March 1, 2014

H.S. BASKETBALL: Lady Indians defeat Southern to earn seventh-straight title

RICHMOND — The Madison Central Lady Indians put on a shooting clinic in winning their seventh straight 44th District Tournament title, 64-52, over Madison Southern Friday in McBrayer Arena.

Central hit 8-of-9 three pointers in the first half as they built a 36-20 halftime lead.

Southern came back to get as close as seven points, 51-44, with three minutes left in the third quarter, but the Lady Indians regrouped, draining 6-of-7 free throws down the stretch to pull away for the win.

Southern had beaten Central last week 53-42 in the regular-season finale for each team and some people thought this might be the year Central’s stranglehold on the district came to an end.

But, Lady Indians coach Robbie Cooksey said he knew that his team wouldn’t go out without a fight.

“We always play big in big games. Our gameplan was good. Our assistant coaches did a good job and our kids executed everything we wanted them to do,” Cooksey said. “People counted us out a couple of weeks ago. People counted us out. They said we were dead. But we’ve still got more life in us. The last time I checked we were still the 11th Region Champion.”

Central got off to a quick start. Lindsay Johns opened the game with a three  pointer, then senior Haley Christian drained three-straight threes to put the Lady  Indians on top 12-4.

Johns, Christian and Kasi Schneid combined for four more threes in the second quarter to lead Central to the 16-point halftime cushion.

The Lady Indians needed their outside shooting because they never got a single point in the first half from leading scorer Shadae Bosley.

Cooksey said the extra time his players put in with extra shooting practice in recent weeks finally paid off.

The Lady Indians were just 1-of-19 from three-point range in last week’s loss to Southern.

“For the last three or four weeks we challenged them to get in the gym and shoot and every day you’ve got kids out there shooting when practice is over. We knew eventually they were going to fall,” Cooksey said.

Central senior Bailey O’Bryan picked off a couple of Lady Eagles’ passes and scored on both to begin the second half, but from there Southern finally got things going.

The Lady Eagles went on a 15-2 run to get within 12, 46-34 with 25.6 seconds left and were only down 10, 46-36 at the end of the third quarter.

But in the fourth quarter, O’Bryan — the tournament’s most valuable player — took over for Central and got her team regrouped.

Each time Southern threatened to make a run, O’Bryan scored or got the ball to a teammate who scored and the Lady Indians pulled away at the end.

O’Bryan, who has been on the past four Central district championship teams, said this title was the sweetest because people didn’t believe they could do it.

“This one was definitely sweeter than the others because people had every doubt in the world and didn’t think we could pull out this win,” she said. “I knew that we were better than that team and we just had to come out and play. After Haley (Christian) hit those threes I knew that this was our game and it was our house and we had to protect it and we did.”

Central Coach Summer Simmons took full responsibility for Southern’s gameplan of collapsing on Bosley and giving up the outside shot.

In last week’s game, Bosley scorched the Lady Eagles for 20 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.

Simmons said she elected to shut down Bosley, which they did, (four points and seven rebounds) and make Central shoot from outside.

“I take full responsibility for the decision to play zone. We went with the statistics. Bosley killed us in the first game and Central hasn’t shot the ball well from outside,” Simmons said. “We felt like if we take care of Bosley they have a hard time scoring. But they were just on fire tonight. And give Bailey O’Bryan credit. She’s a senior and she’s a do-or-die kind of kid. When Bosley wasn’t putting up the numbers, she knew she had to take over and she did.”

O’Bryan finished with a team-best 21 points, five assists and three steals. Johns added 18 points and Christian had 15 points.

Bosley and Kasi Schneid finished with four points each and Emily Willoughby had two points.

Kristen Hayes led the Lady Eagles with 25 points. Brianna Lanham and Kelley Freeman had 10 points each, Adriannah Willis had three points, Ashlynn Clark added two points and Marley Lawson had one point.

Both teams advance to the 11th Region Tournament in Frankfort next week.

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