Lady Choctaws look to battle Munford for 13AAA title

Tuesday, January 3, 2017
A year removed from making their first trip to the Class AAA State Tournament, the Dyer County girls begin their journey through their district schedule tonight when the Lady Choctaws host Brighton at 6 p.m. (Pictured) Dyer County senior Nakeeva Brandon halts a Lady Patriot during the Lady Choctaws win over fellow AAA team Henry County earlier this season.

JASON PEEVYHOUSE

jpeevyhouse@stategazette.com

Last March was a historic time for the Lady Choctaws as, after falling in the District 13AAA title game to rival Munford, the Dyer County girls rattled off four straight wins to advance to the state tournament for the first time in school history.

The Lady Choctaws (12-2) would love to make a return trip to the 'Boro and the road there begins today when Dyer County opens up district play with Brighton at 6 p.m. in Newbern.

“The girls are really having a strong season,” Dyer County head coach Derek McCord said. “I've been really pleased with our effort so far.

“We've had a lot of different girls step up and we're a work in progress.”

Coming off a trip to the Lady Marshal Holiday Classic the week before Christmas where the Lady Choctaws finished 2-1 to earn third place honors, McCord points out the team has been streaky in its scoring during the first half of the season, something he hopes can be remedied during the final half of the regular season.

“I like our energy level,” McCord added. “I think we're going to continue to get better as we get into district play.”

Speaking of district play, when asked who would be the biggest challenge in 13AAA for the Lady Choctaws, McCord said the answer was easy.

“That would be Munford,” McCord said. “They return nearly everyone and they've got a lot of girls that are getting recruited.”

McCord said the defending 13AAA Champion Lady Cougars have a lot of depth and more size than any of the girls teams in the district.

“I think this is the year that a lot of people in Tipton County look for Munford to go a long way and make a long run,” McCord said. “This is the team they have been talking about having for years.”

One of the main weapons for Munford coach Steve Poindexter is junior Gabby Crawford.

“When you've got players that are getting SEC offers, then they've got to be a talented individual,” McCord said. “They've just got a lot of size.”

McCord added fellow Lady Cougar Jahanna Jones is also a player that returns after giving the Lady Choctaws trouble last season as well as Shania Johnson.

“They're going to be a handful for everybody in our league, I think,” McCord said. “If you talk to any coach in our league, from day one, they've got to be the heavy favorite.

“That being said – there are still three other teams that would really like to upset them.”

Dyer County graduated seven seniors from last year's squad, which McCord believes is more than any other team in 13AAA.

“I think graduation hit our squad harder than anybody else,” McCord said.

Brighton, meanwhile, is looking to improve under David Wampler while Hardin County also looks to get better as the season moves on. McCord points to the Lady Cougars as being the team to beat in 13AAA.

“I think with this team Munford has, anything less than a trip to the state tournament they would consider a disappointment,” McCord said.

McCord added he is happy with the growth of his team during the first half of the season.

“A lot of these players that we're playing and starting were junior varsity players last year,” McCord said. “It's good to see them mature and improve.”

This season's district tournament will be held at Munford with the semifinals and finals of Region 7AAA at Brighton.

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