Inside play sparks Lady Rebels to win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; April Boyd has no beefs about playing against taller people in the post.

She’s not even the tallest person on her team. But she’s learning how to play under the basket &045; the post moves, how to post up and how to muscle for a rebound.

So when Boyd and the Adams Christian Lady Rebels matched up against a smaller Trinity Episcopal squad, the idea was to take it inside. When Trinity’s zone defense started working well, the idea became imperative.

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Enough of that, along with some easy baskets off turnovers, helped the Lady Rebels take a 58-27 win over the Lady Saints Saturday at Clyde Adams Arena.

&uot;I’m not the tallest girl out there,&uot; said Boyd, who finished with 10 points and scored 14 on Trinity in last month’s meeting at AC. &uot;We work on our inside a lot. I think this year I’ve worked more on my inside than my outside. I don’t get to play inside much, but normally against the smaller teams coach lets me play inside. I’d rather play inside. I’m just not tall.&uot;

The inside attack worked to the Lady Rebels’ advantage Saturday, but it just took a while. The Lady Saints packed in a 2-3 zone defense the entire game, and they left AC’s shooters open from the outside.

The shots didn’t fall early, and the Lady Rebels found themselves coming out of the gate slow with an 8-7 lead by the end of the first quarter against a team they beat 63-23 just over a month ago.

&uot;If we shoot like we shot in the first quarter, we’re in trouble,&uot; ACCS head coach Bruce Pickle said. &uot;We didn’t shoot the ball very well in the first quarter. I’ve tried to teach them we’ve got to go inside and go to the goal. We had open shots, but they weren’t going to go down. Normally we’re going to shoot a lot more 3’s than that, but we haven’t shot the ball well the last couple of games.&uot;

Give the Lady Saints credit for the hanging in, and a 3-pointer from Sierra Massey at the start of the second quarter gave them a 10-8 lead. After that, however, the Lady Rebels got their offense into a flow, knocked down some shots, got some steals and kept Trinity off the scoreboard for the rest of the quarter and two minutes into the second half.

The result was a 19-0 run to end the half and a 30-2 run over a span of nearly 12 minutes. Boyd hit a shot with 7:13 left in the second to tie the game at 10-10, Brittany Gamberi knocked down a 3-pointer four minutes later and the Lady Rebels broke the game open.

&uot;At times I thought we did a lot of good things,&uot; Trinity head coach Melanie Hall said. &uot;At times we did a lot of not-so-good things. I think we got a little frustrated, and I think we hurt ourselves. We’ll take the positives and get stronger from that. Our 2-3 &045; when our girls communicate and move their feet, they do a super job. What we’ve got to do is block out. It was second and third attempts that got us and not the first ones.&uot;

Boyd put in a bucket with five seconds left in the first half that put AC’s lead at 27-10 at halftime, and Nikki Hankins &045; who finished with a game-high 15 points &045; put in two at the start of the second half to keep the run going and kept attacking the baseline underneath the 2-3 zone.

Massey put in a bucket for Trinity to end the scoreless run, but the Lady Rebels didn’t let up. Brittany Gamberi and Hankins each converted layups created off steals to take a 37-12 lead, and Hankins hit one of two free throws with 3:36 left to take a 38-12 lead.

Massey then hit another basket with 3:18 left to end the run.

&uot;When the shots weren’t going in, we were trying to get it in,&uot; Pickle said. &uot;For a while it looked like we were going to stand out there and shoot it all night. The last four minutes of the first half was the difference. We wanted to put a little more pressure on the ball. We were trying to decide if we were going to press or not at the beginning of the game. That’s how we’ve got to play &045; pressing and causing some turnovers.&uot;

The inside play kept going a bit when Boyd came out for reserve Mattie Geoghegan, who put in a bucket after Massey’s shot that ended the run for a 40-14 lead. Boyd put in a basket at the start of the fourth quarter, and she fed Hankins the ball just off the baseline later for a basket for a 50-21 lead with 4:37 left in the fourth.

&uot;We work on our inside a lot,&uot; Boyd said. &uot;Coach always tells us to try and work it inside. All of our post players are working real hard. He’s been working real hard with Mattie and Krystal (Truitt). When we play our district games and go against bigger girls, it’s harder to get it in to me.&uot;

The Lady Saints had a much better start to this game than in last month’s game when they trailed AC 22-3 heading into the second quarter. Mallory Archer started the game with a three-point play, and she followed it with a layup off a steal for a 5-0 lead. AC scored eight straight points before a bucket from Jessica Marchbanks cut the lead to 8-7.

Massey hit a 3-pointer to start the second quarter for a 10-8 lead.

&uot;We had absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain,&uot; Hall said. &uot;We’ll take some things from this game and just build on them. Of course, we thank God always for the opportunity. You’re not guaranteed tomorrow. You’ve got today, and what are you going to do with today? I’m proud of my girls for their efforts.&uot;