Lady Trojans cruise into finals with win over Crockett County
A dominating stretch which spanned most of the first quarter set the tone for the Lady Trojans as Class AA’s No. 7 ranked team advanced to its first District 13AA Championship game since 2014 with a 51-32 win over Crockett County in the district semifinals on Thursday evening at Obion County Central High School in Troy.
“I am extremely proud of our girls,” Dyersburg head coach Joel Ayers said. “I thought we did a good job defensively for the most part.
“Offensively, I thought we had some offense come from our defense and playing a little hard and with some toughness.”
With the win, Dyersburg (22-5) also secures one of the top two seeds coming out of 13AA and a first-round Region 7AA quarterfinal game next Friday when the regional tournament gets underway at satellite locations.
“That was what we wanted – to play at home Friday night in the region,” Ayers said. “And, we wanted an opportunity to play for a district championship.”
After an early Kayla Bond bucket put the Lady Cavaliers on top just 15 seconds into the game, Dyersburg answered with a Cloe Messer bucket to tie the game. That bucket, though, was just the first in a run which saw four more Lady Trojans contribute as senior Faith Sherrow scored seven during what turned into a 16-2 run through much of the opening quarter. Crockett County got a pair of late buckets to cut the Dyersburg lead to 16-8 at the end of the first quarter.
“We made some shots and we got some good stops,” Ayers said of the first-quarter run. “So, we had a combination of things that worked out real good.”
The Lady Cavaliers kept their momentum briefly during the opening portion of the second quarter and were able to cut the Lady Trojan lead to six after a Yasmine Pankey bucket. But, Dyersburg controlled the remainder of the first half, getting a KK Howard jumper as well as a three-pointer from Mari-Hanna Newsom as part of a 9-0 run by the Lady Trojans which Breonna Howard capped with a three-pointer at the buzzer to take a 29-14 halftime lead.
Crockett County cut the lead down to a dozen early in the second half, but another Dyersburg run put the game out of reach for good. A pair of buckets from Sherrow and a Samariah Thompson layup opened a 9-3 run to end the third quarter and give Dyersburg a commanding 42-24 lead going into the final eight minutes.
In a low-scoring fourth frame, the Lady Trojans tacked on one more point to their lead to seal the win and advance to the title game.
“We came out and made some shots early and really played well,” the Lady Trojan head coach said. “I thought our girls played with some toughness.
“Our two seniors led us all night long and did some great things. We had some other kids step up – Mari-Hanna Newsom played well even in foul trouble. Breonna and KK Howard played well and had some big buckets. We can go down the line and even our kids on the bench gave us some energy.”
Sherrow led the way for Dyersburg with 12 points while Thompson added 10. A trio of Lady Trojans scored eight – Messer, Newsom and Breonna Howard – to round out Dyersburg’s top scorers.
Ayers had nothing but good things to say about the Lady Cavaliers following his team’s win.
“Crockett County is a really good team and they’re well-coached,” Ayers said. “They did a lot of great things with only one senior out there.
“I still look for them to make a lot of noise in the region, to be honest with you. I expect them to go win their first-round region game then be in the region final four. I think they’re going to do well.”
The Lady Trojans advance to Saturday night’s District 13AA Tournament Final where they will face Westview at 7:30 p.m. for the championship. The Lady Chargers, Class AA’s second-ranked team, handed Dyersburg two of its five losses on the season on back-to-back nights to open the month of February.
Ayers kept what he learned from those two games simple.
“They’re real good,” Ayers said. “It’ll be real tough but that’s why you come to play.”