By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Stepping the line and making your shots was the theme for the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels last Wednesday in the Turkey Shootout against rival Rossville Christian Academy.
Before the contest with the Lady Wolves came down to a pair of Virginia Moore free throws, it was her TRA teammate Taylor Beasley who was the shooting star.
Beasley nailed six three-pointers in the Lady Rebels’ 45-43 victory. The sophomore guard said it was the advice one of the youngest “assistant” coaches on the TRA staff might have helped her long-range touch.
“The coach’s daughter helped me before the game,” she recalled. “It was Reagan, it seemed like it helped. She’s 6 and she made me stay at the three-point line until I made it. And we just kept going.”
The extra shooting was the difference early for TRA with Beasley hitting three triples in the first quarter to help the Lady Rebels jump out 11-7.
Heading into the second quarter TRA was ahead 11-9. As Beasley cooled off, the Lady Wolves rallied to take a 21-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“We went in at halftime and said, ‘That is absolutely the worst we can play,’” TRA Head Coach Shari Armour said. “So to find a way to come out with a win, that takes a team effort.”
The Lady Rebels stayed as cold as the 20 degree tempertatures outside of the TRA Gymnasium in the third quarter. TRA only managed 6 points, meanwhile Rossvile tallied 14 points to build a 35-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The wake-up call for the Lady Rebel offense came when junior guard Bethany Berger hit a three-pointer to make the score 35-30. Then it was time to unleash “The Beast” again with Beasley hitting another triple to make the score 37-33 in favor of Rossville.
A pair of Beasley foul shots made the score 39-37. The Lady Wolves were nursing a three-point lead late in the contest when Beasley hit her sixth triple of the evening to tie the game at 40-40.
Rossville regained the advantage at 42-40 when Berger took her turn at a clutch shot. She hit a baseline three-pointer to give TRA a 43-42 lead.
After the Lady Wolves tied the game at 43-43 with a foul shot, TRA found itself needing a defensive stop to pull out the game.
With Rossville missing a shot, the ball fell in the hands of TRA senior guard Virginia Moore. She was fouled with 1.3 seconds left on the clock.
“My hands were shaking and I was freaking out,” Moore admitted as she headed to the foul line. “I looked at Coach and she said, ‘You’ve got two, you just take your time.’ I felt like, ‘Hey, you’ve got this.’”
Armour was confident in the player she’s coached for three years and who has been a part of the Lady Rebel varsity program for four seasons.
“I’ve preached that to her the last, going on three years, ‘Free throws make the difference in a game,’” Armour recalled. “Every game we talk about free throws and free throws. If we make them, it will be a closer game. And tonight proved that.”
Moore, who appeared calm to all the spectators, drilled both foul shot through the net to give TRA a 45-43 lead.
“I felt awesome because I really didn’t want to lose to Rossville,” Moore said. “And I heard all my teammates and I said, ‘You’ve got to do this.’”
The Lady Wolves were not able to get a shot off at the buzzer. From her daughter to the timely shooting of her players, Armour said it took every member of the Lady Rebel family to have a good Thanksgiving Eve.
“It took everybody stepping where we normally don’t step up,” she concluded. “We had our girls come through for us. Overall, I’m very proud of them and their effort at the end to pull it out.”