By Thomas Sellers Jr.
In the previous five match-ups, the No. 1 seeded team walked off the court with the title. Monday night in the Hardin County Gymnasium, Munford Head Coach Steve Poindexter was ready to end that trend with his No. 2 seeded Lady Cougars.
Using a new defense and timely plays from 2018 Tournament MVP Deja Potter, Munford was able to pull off the upset 37-34 to claim the District 13-3A championship.
“They get a break-out layup that could have sealed the game,” Poindexter recalled. “They were up by 1 with less than 30 seconds to go. Potter chases down the girl from behind and blocks it off the backboard. We come back down, down by 1.
“We ended up coming out of the timeout getting the ball to Gabby,” he continued. “They foul her hard and it turns out to be an intentional foul. We make the two free throws to go up by one and get the ball back. They foul Gabby and she makes both. We make the stop and that’s the ball game. That doesn’t happen without Potter’s play.”
To reach the championship game, Potter came up huge in the semifinals against rival Brighton. Munford jumped out with 14 points in the first quarter. The Lady Cougars went into the locker room with a total of 14.
Poindexter and crew made adjustments to outlast the Lady Cardinals 39-29 to advance. Potter had 16 points in that victory.
“I don’t think anything necessarily changed,” Poindexter said of Potter’s performance. “I’ve always had people step up when thing are not necessarily going well. Following the game plans and giving yourself a chance to win, she was the one in the position to step up and make plays.”
Potter went 8 of 10 from the line against Brighton. Locating her on several shots opportunity was fellow senior Gabby Crawford. She compiled 12 assists in the semifinal contest.
Preparing for the Monday showdown with Dyer County, Poindexter wanted his player to focus on defense and limiting turnovers. In two regular season games against the Lady Choctaws, Munford averaged nearly 30 giveaways per contest.
In the win over Dyer County, Munford had less than 20 turnovers.
“I thought in the championship game we followed the game plan the best we’ve done all year,” Poindexter said. “We played a defense against Dyer County we haven’t played all year. We were zoned in and were able to cut off their penetration. We were able to contest their shots. Their best two players combined for 8 points.
“I told our kids you have to follow the game plan and play at our pace,” he added “We only gave up 34 points. That’s 30 points off the last time we played them.”
The district championship makes it five in the Poindexter Era. Now his 2018 team is seeking the third Region 7-3A title in his eighth season in Tipton County.
“I’ve had some kids willing to listen and work hard,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it.
We have to approach it one game at a time,” Poindexter concluded. “ It would be real easy to toward Monday. But we have to take it one game at a time.”
Munford’s Regional road starts at home Friday at 7 p.m. taking on the Cordova Lady Wolves.
Brighton Lady Cardinals @ Arlington Lady Tigers 7 p.m.
Cordova Lady Wolves @ Munford Lady Cougars
Bolton Lady Wildcats @ Dyer County Lady Choctaws
Hardin County Lady Tigers @ Bartlett Lady Panthers
Munford Cougars @ Cordova Wolves
Arlington Tigers @ Brighton Cardinals
Dyer County Choctaws @ Bartlett Panthers
Bolton Wildcats @ Liberty Tech Crusaders