Friday, February 5, 2016

Munford upsets No. 6 Lady Choctaws in 13AAA tilt


Just a week after half of the top 10 teams in the Associated Press Poll for Class AAA suffered at least one loss, the No. 6 Lady Choctaws suffered an upset on the road as Dyer County's girls struggled from the line during their 71-57 loss at Munford on Tuesday night.

"A lot of things tonight left us scratching our heads," Dyer County head coach Derek McCord said. "But, you know, the bottom line is if you miss 16 free throws in a game you're not going to beat very many people.

"For whatever reason, we had a total lack of focus when we went to the line."

The Lady Cougars jumped out to an early lead, countering an Olivia Crane jumper with buckets from Gabby Crawford and Johnna Jones as part of a 6-0 run to take a four-point lead with 4:47 left in the opening quarter. Dyer County answered back with a three-pointer from Crane and a free throw from Amaria Pugh to tie the game before a Jones bucket put Munford back on top. A free throw from Haley Hicks and a jumper from Amber Thompson put Dyer County on top for a moment. After a Munford free throw tied the game, Hicks and Jones swapped three-pointers to keep the game tied for a few moments. A Thompson trey put the Lady Choctaws on top and was followed by a putback from Nakeva Brandon to put Dyer County up by five with two minutes left. But, a Crawford bucket and a Shania Johnson layup late in the frame cut the Dyer County lead to 17-16 after one quarter.

The momentum shift flowed into the second quarter as two Crawford free throws and a Kyla Taylor jumper put Munford back on top. A Hick three-pointer tied the game, but the Lady Cougars dominated much of the second frame as a 12-3 run by Munford helped the home team take a 35-27 lead at the break.

Dyer County battled back in the early third quarter as two Crane buckets and a Pugh layup countered a Deja Potter deuce to cut the Lady Cougar lead to six. But, a Jones trey and a pair of Crawford free throws followed to extend the lead back to 44-33 midway through the frame. Again, Dyer County battled back as a three-pointer from Thompson was followed by three points from Torri Daniels, countering a Potter layup to cut the deficit to seven again. But, Munford ended the frame strong, answering a Courtney Maupin three-pointer with five points to take a 51-42 lead into the final frame.

Dyer County cut the lead to back to seven early in the fourth quarter with a Crane jumper, but the Lady Cougars were able to answer that buckets as well as tallies from Crane and Kaylee Luckett that followed to maintain their lead. A pair of free-throw attempts from Luckett failed to hit their mark after 10 seconds were run off the clock after the foul was called. From that point, Munford controlled the game, ending the contest on a 15-7 scoring spree to take the important district win.

"Munford totally dominated us tonight," McCord said. "And, we've had quite a bit of success against them over the last few years. But, tonight, they beat us in every area."

Crane led the way with 16 points while Thompson scored 13 off the bench for the Lady Choctaws. Daniels tossed in nine in the loss.

"We had a reluctance to get the ball inside," McCord said. "First couple of times, we ran the offense and got some easy shots. But, then we got away from running the offense for the rest of the night.

"We had no answer for Johnna Jones. She was the best player on the floor tonight."

As a team, the Lady Choctaws (20-3, 3-1) shot 6 of 22 from the line.

"The free throws really surprised me -- especially with as many seniors as we have," McCord said. "Our offense tonight, for whatever reason, we got away from running offense and attacking the zone."

With the loss -- which snapped the Lady Choctaws' 15-game regular season district winning streak and a six-game winning streak against Munford, Dyer County's girls no longer control their own destiny in the search for the regular season district title and top seed in the upcoming 13AAA tournament.

"Tonight, we didn't guard, we didn't box out and we didn't make free throws," McCord said. "That pretty much sums it up."

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