After falling short to the Munford Lady Cougars on Tuesday, the Dyer County girls bounced back in a game they trailed by as many as nine. However, the Lady Choctaws played a very physical game behind tremendous defensive efforts by junior Eonna Jackson, sophomore Makayla Enochs, and freshmen Kaylee Luckett and Olivia Crane.
"I've been saying for some time that we just needed to get tougher and tonight we did," said head coach Derek McCord. "I couldn't be prouder of my girls."
The Lady Choctaws started out slowly as they were outplayed by Hardin County's 6'2" junior center Emily Gray along with senior guards Katie Terry and Morgan Willoughby. The Lady Tigers were defensively dominating as they closed the lanes, opening a seven-point lead in the second quarter. Dyer County battled back behind Jackson, who in addition to playing tough defense had eight points in the game, and Owen, who had a team-high 16 points. The Lady Choctaws cut the Hardin County lead to three with three minutes to play in the half only to have the Lady Tigers close out the half on a 6-2 run that allowed them to take a 20-13 lead into the locker room.
"We continued to encourage the girls at the half to keep doing what we were doing because we could see that we were frustrating their guards," said McCord.
Dyer County came out in the second half continuing to play the Lady Tigers tough, but they were unable to cut the Hardin County lead in the third period as each team scored 13 points to make it a 33-26 game going into the final quarter of play. The Lady Tigers' inability to put the Lady Choctaws away would prove costly in the fourth as Dyer County opened the quarter on an 11-4 run, tying the game at 37 with about five minutes to play. Capitalizing on Terry's foul trouble that forced Hardin County to sit her for most of the fourth quarter, the Lady Choctaws went to work as they took their first lead of the game with about 4:30 left to play in the game.
Hardin County would not go quietly though as they battled back to tie the game at 43 with less than a minute to play. Although Dyer County did have the ball in the closing moments of regulation, they were unable to capitalize and the game went into overtime.
In overtime, freshman Haley Hicks led the way opening the scoring by hitting two of her 11 points to start the extra period. The Lady Choctaws would never trail again as they opened a five-point lead and would hold on to defeat the Lady Tigers by four.
McCord was effusive in his praise after the game for his girls that stepped up in what he described as a loud, hostile place for a visiting team to play. After playing six games in 11 days, the Lady Choctaws will get some well-deserved time off as their next game is not until Friday, Dec. 14 when they take on Millington at home. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.