By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The 2015 Region 7-3A Basketball Tournaments were scheduled to be held in Munford.
The question last Tuesday night was would the Lady Cougars be around to officially host the tournament in the Munford Gymnasium. All Steve Poindexter’s Munford squad had to do was survive a battle with the Cordova Lady Wolves in the Region 7-3A Quarterfinals.
Behind a balanced attack on offense with four players in double figures, the Lady Cougars prevail 66-43 to advance to the Regional Semifinals to play the Bartlett Lady Panthers.
“I can look in the book and tell you,” Poindexter said. “We had four girls in double figures. Whenever you can flip through the book and see that, we’re beating somebody pretty handily.
“For the most part they came out and played together,” he added. “Defensively, they were sharp. There was good block-out effort.”
Munford’s approach on the boards helped it jump out to an 18-4 first quarter lead. Lady Cougar freshman standout Gabby Crawford scored the first two buckets.
Then Munford sophomore guard Johnna Jones came off the bench and drained a pair of three-pointers. Her second triple came at the buzzer to conclude the first quarter.
Cordova cut into the Munford advantage in the second quarter to make the score 18-10. Lady Cougar senior center Lindsey Owen stopped the Lady Wolves momentum with a three-point play.
Owen sparked an 11-4 for the Lady Cougars. Munford was ahead 31-18 at the break.
“We did a good job of finishing early to build the lead,” Poindexter said.
The lead grew in the third quarter courtesy of the attacking style of Crawford. Lady Cougar senior guard Phenicia Howard located Crawford in the post for lay up and foul to make the score 34-18.
On the next two possession, Crawford hit a jumper and made a lay up off the glass to make the score 38-20.
“That’s the Gabby I haven’t seen in a while,” Poindexter acknowledge. “She was a beast on the boards. When you’ve got a girl who can rebound like that, she’s getting put backs and and-ones.”
Crawford’s inside play opened the perimeter up for Howard, Jones and Kierra Richardson with Munford building a 50-26.
The Lady Cougars added 16 more points in the fourth quarter to hold onto victory and advance to the next round.
“If you don’t win this game, you’re heading home,” Poindexter said. “I think they handle that situation pretty well. You have three seniors who are playing. And you also have two sophomores and a freshman that are playing a whole lot too. You never know how they’re going to handle that situation.
“When I have an elimination game, I try not to talk about that part of it because you don’t know how kids are going to react to it,” he continued. “You might have a group that turns a switch like, ‘We’re not losing.’ Or you might have somebody thinking, ‘I hope we don’t lose.’ And they play tight. You’ve seen kids go home. I think they handle the game very well on both ends of the floor to start the game.”
Jones came off the bench and finish with 11 points. Richardson slashed to the basket for 11 points as well against Cordova.
Her backcourt mate and fellow senior Howard added 10 points. And Crawford led the way with 23 points.
Dyer County and Arlington will join the Lady Cougars and Lady Panthers in the Semifinal round. The two winners of the semifinal games will advance to the Region 7-3A Tournament final and earn a spot in Sectionals.
The Bartlett Lady Panthers, champions of District 14-3A, advanced with a 69-39 win over the Brighton Lady Cardinals in the Quarterfinals.
Poindexter said the keys to beating the Lady Panthers were the same to getting pass the Lady Wolves.
“You’ll have to play really smart offensively, play solid basketball offensively and play together,” he concluded. “I thought we did a good job of that tonight. You’re going to have to get stops. We have to focus of playing 32 minutes of great defense. If we do that, we’ll be in position to win the ball game.”
Behind the backcourt play of Jessica Jackson and the inside scoring of Charity Savage, the Bartlett Lady Panthers advanced to the Region 7-3A Girls Basketball Tournament championship game.
The Lady Panthers earned a 51-31 victory over the host Munford Lady Cougars. Bartlett’s victory also guaranteed them a spot in this weekend’s Sectionals to face a team from Region 8-3A.