By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The 2014 holiday season was good to the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels.
The Lady Rebels gave Head Coach Keith Cox a gift with a big league win over Rossville, only the Lady Wolves second defeat of the season. Then TRA travel to the Magnolia Heights Christmas Tournament earning the Consolation Bracket title.
“We’ve looked good at times,” Cox said. “Then we’ve had other times we haven’t played so well. But it was nice to be back home.”
Before coming back home last Thursday to play the Memphis Metro Home School Lady Mustangs, TRA dropped a tough game at St. George’s. Cox wanted his team to bounce back against MMHS with more intensity. The Lady Rebels answered Cox’s challenge beating the Lady Mustangs 63-28.
“We’ve got to get more physical,” Cox said. “Tuesday night at St. George’s, we had every opportunity to win that game. But we’ve got young players out there who haven’t learn yet how to be physical.
“Tonight we tried to work on getting a lot of people minutes before we head into an important district game tomorrow,” he added. “And at the same time rise the intensity level up about playing a little bit more physical.”
The Lady Rebels brought the intensity early jumping out to a 17-0 lead. TRA senior guard Bethany Berger transformed a 5-0 lead into a 12-0 advantage with 7 straight points. Her teammate Taylor Beasley added a bucket to make it 14-0.
Then Molly Word stole the ball and raced to the other end of the court for a layup to make the score 16-0. After a free throw from Brittany Hall, TRA was ahead 17 points.
The score was 19-2 heading into the second quarter. TRA kept up the intensity in the second period with baskets from Ally Naifeh, Katie Smith and Lauren Moody. The underclassmen helped the Lady Rebels lead 35-12 at the break.
In the third quarter the experienced Lady Rebels increased the lead to 49-23. Beasley made a steal for layup early in the quarter.
TRA senior Alexa Crum hit a bucket midway through the third quarter to make the score 41-18. A few second later Berger made another Lady Rebel steal leading to a three-point play.
Word, a freshman guard, closed out the quarter with a triple and layup to give TRA a 26-point advantage.
The Lady Rebels closed out the contest outscoring MMHS 14-5 behind shots from Moody, Abby Naifeh, Annie Harris and Brooke Bridges. With multiple players in the scoring column, Cox said he hopes the MMHS game was a step in the right direction for his team to compete with league foes like Rossville, Northpoint and preseason favorites USJ.
“We’ve got to play well more often,” he said. “ think we’re doing a good job for the most part defensively. I’ve been please with playing multiple defenses. They’re playing with intensity.
But we go through certain time where we have trouble scoring,” Cox concluded. “That’s one of those things, being more consistent, moving the ball well and getting the shots we want will get us the opportunities to score.”