DALZELL - Coming off a hard-fought, 3-point loss to 3-time defending SCISA 3A varsity girls basketball champion Northwood Academy on Monday, Wilson Hall head coach Glen Rector was concerned about how his team would respond on Tuesday in a rivalry …
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DALZELL -- Coming off a hard-fought 3-point loss to 3-time defending SCISA 3A varsity girls basketball champion Northwood Academy on Monday, Wilson Hall head coach Glen Rector was concerned about how his team would respond on Tuesday in a rivalry game against Thomas Sumter Academy.
Both teams had their moments and both had opportunities but in the end it was the Lady Barons, led by 17 points and nine rebounds from Natalie Jackson, who did just enough to come away with a 41-34 win at Edens Gymnasium.
"There's always a lot of intensity that goes into this girls basketball game between Wilson Hall and Thomas Sumter, and tonight was no exception," said Rector, whose team ran its overall record to 13-6. "We knew from the tipoff that both teams were going to play hard and both teams were going to try to execute, and both teams were going to battle. Both teams worked really hard tonight. We were just fortunate to come off making a few more baskets than they did."
Wilson Hall held a 21-16 lead at halftime, but TSA stormed out to a quick 8-0 run, including an Aubrey Stoddard 3-point basket, a low post bucket from Taja Hunley and a 3-point play from Sydney Daniel, to grab a 24-21 lead less than a minute into the third quarter.
"With the foul trouble that we were in in the first half and going to the 2-3 zone, and being down by five at the half, I was saying that was great and that we had worked ourselves into being in this game," said TSA head coach B.J. Reed, whose team dropped to 11-7 overall. "We talked about coming out strong in the first two minutes and in the first 30 seconds I was like, 'Holy smoke!' and we scored that eight points and it was awesome. Obviously, Wilson Hall is a very strong team, they're a well coached team, they're a very experienced team. Basketball is a game of runs, and they did a good job of stopping our run. I thought we got some good shots that we weren't able to hit, and then we had some turnovers. Sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way."
Jackson broke the TSA run with two free throws at the 5:17 mark and a runner by Liza Segars put the Lady Barons back on top, 25-24, with 3:47 to go in the third. The only other points for TSA in the quarter came on a Carmen Silvester low post basket with 2:07 on the clock as Wilson Hall took a 30-26 lead to the final quarter.
"We had a 3-point ball game last night, not to make excuses, but we knew the legs were a little bit tired," Rector said. "We felt like after halftime we would try to increase the intensity and Thomas Sumter came out a lot more intense than we did, had a couple of steals, made a couple of baskets and then all of a sudden we're behind and we've got to battle back to regain the lead. Fortunately the girls did a really nice job of maintaining their composure, thinking through what they had to do and then hitting the shots."
While pleased with the effort put forth by Jackson, Rector also credited the work on the defensive end by Courtney Clark, defending mainly against Hunley, as a key factor in the Lady Barons' win.
"Natalie had nine rebounds, but Courtney did an incredible job on their post play in the second half," Rector said. "Rebounding at halftime was a big point of emphasis for us because they were out-rebounding us by a lot. So we knew that was an area where they were getting a lot of free balls and we knew we needed to increase (our production there) and we rebounded much better in the second half."
Reed also singled out the efforts of Maddie Elmore, who closed with 11 points for Wilson Hall. Six of Elmore's points came in the final quarter and Elmore added two key steals in the final minute to help keep TSA at bay. "I thought Maddie Elmore stepped up big in the second half," Reed said. "Obviously, we knew we needed to know where (Susanna) Hutson was, we needed to know where Jackson was, we knew personnel, we knew what everybody's strengths and weaknesses were. I think Maddie did an excellent job, and two times in a row she was able to just break us down (off steals) and go shoot a layup. That was disappointing because we pride ourselves on defense, but I thought she stepped up big time for them."
Wilson Hall led by as much as 10 in the final quarter before settling for the 7-point win. Both teams left points on the floor as the Lady Barons hit just seven of 18 free throws in the fourth while the Lady Generals were four of eight from the line.
Stoddard led TSA with 12 points while Hunley grabbed 17 rebounds to go with five points.
In the boys game, TSA led by five, 15-10, after one quarter but managed just four points in the second. That one low-scoring quarter would prove to be fatal for the home team in a close game as Wilson Hall held on for a 50-47 win, leveling both teams' records as the Barons improved to 8-8 while the Generals slipped to 7-7.
Wilson Hall led 21-19 at halftime and stretched the lead to five, 34-29, after three quarters. TSA had its chances late as the Barons hit just three of 12 free throw attempts in the final quarter, but the Generals came up just short in the end. Both teams struggled with free-throw shooting as Wilson Hall connected on just 10 of 19 shots while TSA closed at an even 50 percent, hitting on five of 10 shots.
Daulton Dabbs closed with 12 points and Chandler Scott added 11 for Wilson Hall while Eli Kessinger scored 13 to pace TSA.
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