By Thomas Sellers Jr.
MEMPHIS — Times have been tough for the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels lately on and off the court.
On the court, the Lady Rebels had to prepare for a game Jan. 5 against the Westminster Lady Defenders without senior standout Ally Naifeh. Before that game at Westminster, the TRA players endured an emotional stretch with the passing of teammate and friend Lauren Moody on Dec. 30.
“It’s been a tough week for us with the lost of Lauren,” TRA Head Coach Keith Cox said. “Everyone is still reeling from that.
“Then after that tragedy, Ally got hurt Sunday just playing basketball,” he continued. “You can’t be too upset about that. It has been tough so early on a lot of them were confused as far as where they were supposed to be. We kind of slept walk through the beginning.”
The Lady Defenders took advantage of the sluggish Lady Rebels leading 13-11 in the second quarter. Then Emily Fisher sparked a 10-5 run for TRA to close out the first half. The Lady Rebels kept the momentum the rest of the game to prevail 47-33.
“They battled and I was real pleased with the way they played,” Cox said. “Taylor Beasley stepped up with Ally not being there as another leader. She’s having to handle the ball a lot more. They all stepped up. After all of what they’ve been through to battle through a game like that, they played so well in the second half.”
Naifeh is expected to miss a few games with an ankle injury. Without their go-to player and heavy hearts, the Lady Rebels trailed most of the first quarter. Behind 11-6, Beasley helped TRA keep pace with a three-pointer.
With the score 13-11 in favor of the Lady Defenders, Fisher tied the game with a bucket in the paint. Then a jumper by Lady Rebel Megan Sanfratello gave TRA a 15-13 lead.
Lady Rebels Brittany Hall joined forces with Fisher to score inside the lane giving TRA a 21-18 advantage at the break.
TRA came out of the locker room appearing ready to put the game away. Abby West for the Lady Rebels rolling 11-2 run in the third quarter with a layup.
Beasley hit a triple to make the score 26-18. Hall attacked the rim once again making a layup giving TRA a 10-point lead.
After a Westminster bucket, TRA senior Brooke Bridges hit a jumper making the score 30-20. Beasley displayed her dribble skills creating a lane to the basket for a layup.
Sanfratello closed out the third quarter with a pair of three-pointers making the score 38-22.
In the fourth quarter, Lady Rebels West, Beasley and Kallie Alexander kept the double-digit advantage with buckets.
The victory got the Lady Rebels mind off the tragedy of losing a dear friend and adjusted to play on the court without Naifeh.
“We had a good week in Florida on the basketball court,” Cox concluded. “We won three games down there. Getting the win here, we have a four-game winning streak now. The season really starts Friday with a tough district game. We come in Friday with USJ.”