By Thomas Sellers Jr.
To those in the Munford Gymnasium Feb. 18, the Dyer County Lady Choctaws were a basketball team taking the court wearing orange and white.
But for their opponents the Munford Lady Cougars in the District 13-3A Girls Basketball Tournament championship game, the Lady Choctaws were the latest obstacle in their construction of team history.
“Coach always tells us to ‘Hammer each nail,’” Munford standout Robneisha “Bird’ Lee said. “We have four nails coming up to reach State. We have to knock them down.”
Dyer County was hammered into submission 76-52 giving the Lady Cougars the district title and a home date in the 2013 Region 7-3A Girls Basketball Tournament.
Lee was named to the All-Tournament team along with teammates Alex Turner and Tournament MVP Shaliyah Wiggins. Munford’s All-Tournament players helped the Lady Cougars jump ahead 19-11 in the first quarter.
Wiggins got the scoring started with a layup. Then Turner nailed a three-pointer that made the score 5-2. After Kierra Webb hit shot to give Munford a 7-2 advantage, Turner moved in closer hitting a jumper to make the score 9-2.
After the Lady Choctaws hit a triple, Wiggins had an answer with a long-range bomb of her own making the score 12-5.
Dyer County trimmed Munford’s lead to 12-9 when Lee seized control of the game taking the ball coast-to-coast for a layup.
Then Lady Cougar Kierra Richardson drained a triple to make the score 17-9. And she concluded the first quarter with a jumper making the tally 19-11.
Lee made the Munford double digits for the first time in the game in the second quarter with a layup. Then Wiggins, Turner and Lee helped Munford go on a 10-4 run to start the second quarter. The Lady Cougars managed to double the effort of Dyer County in the first half leading 34-17.
The Lady Cougars put any doubt away in the third quarter outscoring the Lady Choctaws 22-13. Munford got points from all over the place with Lauren Zvolanek, Precious Mills and Webb contributing to the score being 56-30.
Despite the Lady Choctaws outscoring Munford 22-20 in the fourth quarter, the game and title was staying with the Lady Cougars. The Munford players earned the championship and a first-round Region game in its gym.
“It’s good to be home,” Wiggins said. “We have to have the same mindset. We’re not going to let the past effect us. We’re going to keep getting better in practice.”
Wiggins said the Lady Cougars’ mindset has been to work hard all season. Last year came to an end for Munford in the Region Semifinals losing in overtime to Bartlett. She said that game will only be motivation for the Lady Cougars as they make their Region run in 2013 and try to reach Sub-State for the first time in school history.
“This means a lot,” Lee concluded. “Hard work, hustle, fight to the finish, all 32 minutes is what he’s been preaching all season. We knew for 32 minutes we had to play hard.”
The Lady Cougars won their Region 7-3A opener Friday night and advance to play in this week’s Regional Semifinals at Brighton.