By Thomas Sellers Jr.
There was a glaring contrast in the final box score from the Macon Road Kingmen/Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebel contest.
The game last Thursday in the TRA Gymnasium was dominated by TRA except for the second quarter. Macon Road outscored the Lady Rebels 20-10 in the period because of TRA fouls, misuses and missed shots.
“I thought we came out extremely lazy that second quarter,” TRA Head Coach Shari Armour acknowledged. “We didn’t box out. We didn’t take care of the ball. We made some fouls that we should have not made. That got our two top guards into foul trouble. When that happens, our bench has to step up. And our bench played a little scared tonight.”
But when Lady Rebel guards Bethany “The Big Cheese” Berger and Virginia Moore returned to the court in the third quarter, TRA build on a 32-25 halftime lead and won the game 72-37.
“Once we all got back out after halftime, I felt like we all came together as a team,” Armour said. “I thought the bench stepped up after that. Our guards played a lot smarter. Virginia Moore had the best game of her career that I know of so far.”
Moore scored the first seven points for TRA helping the Lady Rebels jump out to a 7-1 advantage. Then her teammate Taylor Beasley made a pair of foul shots. When Berger drained a three-pointer, the Lady Rebels were ahead 12-3.
Moore continued her career night midway in the first quarter with a steal and pass to Berger for a layup and a 14-3 lead.
That steal was one of many in the opening quarter for TRA. At one stretch Berger made back-to-back steals for uncontested layups. Seconds later Beasley got in the theft act intercepting a pass for a score.
The first quarter concluded with a Brooklyn Simpson jumper that made the score 22-5 in favor of TRA.
The opening moments of the second quarter appeared to set the stage for another Lady Rebel onslaught. But after scores from Moore and Hannah Quinn made the tally 28-8, the Kingmen responded with a 15-2 run to make the score 30-23. TRA was only ahead by 7 points going into the locker room.
In the third quarter the Lady Rebels regrouped outscoring Macon Road 9-2 to make the lead 41-27. Bayleigh Nale started the run with a layup. Then Moore nailed a three to make the lead 39-27.
Moore and her fellow backcourt mates Beasley and Berger hit buckets to make the lead 52-31 after three quarters.
Berger hit a three-pointer to conclude the third quarter. Berger was still in the scoring mood with two steals leading to layups. Then Nale scored four points of her own to make the score 60-31.
Buckets from Berger, Beasley and Sara Hall iced the game for the Lady Rebels. Now TRA is up in Martin playing in a Christmas tournament.
As the new year approaches, Armour said her New Year’s resolution is seeing her girls get better at the basics.
“I want to see our fundamentals strengthen,” she concluded. “I feel like our fundamentals are still down. We need to box out. We need to finish more of our layups and underneath shots and just all away around so our puzzle pieces can come together.”