By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Since starting the season 0-2, the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels have won 3 of their last 5 games entering a rematch against Macon Road Baptist School.
The rematch in the TRA Gymnasium on Dec. 2 concerned Lady Rebel Head Coach Keith Cox.
“I thought we came out really well concerning that we’ve beaten them already one time,” he said. “It’s tough when you’ve already got a win over a team. You see a lot of times, teams will split because that team that already got a win over the other team may be a little overconfident or a little flat in the second game. We didn’t do that. That’s what we talked about before the game.”
Cox’s chat appeared to work with TRA jumping out to a 20-2 lead after one quarter. The Lady Rebels paced themselves the next three quarters to win 51-20.
Back on Nov. 21, Macon Road came out with the hot start before falling to the Lady Rebels. In the most recent match up, TRA took a 9-0 lead starting with a Alexa Crum layup.
The next two Lady Rebel baskets came courtesy of Ally Naifeh. Then it was time for “Beast Mode” when TRA guard Taylor Beasley hit a three-pointer. Beasley score 10 of TRA’s 14 points to close out the first quarter.
At their place, we came out flat with no energy and we were down 6-0,” Cox recalled. “We talked about that, coming out with energy. And I think we definitely did that. Our three-quarter trap did what it supposed to have done. We forced a lot of turnovers early and got some easier looks.
“We finally started to hit some shots,” he continued. “Taylor had a great quarter. She got a couple of layups then a couple of great looks at threes. That’s what we need her to do, make open shots. We won the first quarter 20-2, great first quarter.”
Beasley scored on a put-back bucket and layup created from the pressure defense. And to close out the first quarter, Beasley drained a three-pointer.
In the second quarter Beasley’s backcourt mate Bethany Berger took over the game with passing. The senior point guard located Naifeh in the post for a layup. Then moments later Berger hit Brooke Bridges cutting to the basket on a fast break for a layup to make the score 24-2.
The Lady Rebels were ahead 28-6 at the break after buckets from freshmen Molly Word and Emily Fisher.
Throughout the second half, Cox employed his entire bench including other freshmen Brittany Hall, Christiana Nyarko, Rachel Whitley, Lauren Moody and Kallie Alexander. Other young players like Katie Smith and Abby Naifeh got minutes helping TRA outscore Macon Road 23-14 in the second half.
“It gave us the opportunity to mix and match different kinds of lineups,” Cox said. “To see who fits well with who and things like that. But I think our energy kind of backed off a little bit at times. Then we would pick it up.
“We did some things that were kind of sloppy after the first quarter,” he concluded. “We did have some groups who were on the floor for the first time together. So they didn’t know where who was supposed to be at times. We’ve got some good young talent who need some minutes and some experience. They’re going to be good. We’ve just go to find opportunities like tonight to get them out there on the floor.”