Coalfield, TN –
Coalfield Center McKinlee West’s bid for a twelfth consecutive double-double was denied on Friday night in the Yellow Jackets 63-29 loss against the Oliver Springs Bobcats.
West entered the game averaging 19.8 ppg and 13.1 rpg for Coalfield (2-15, 0-4 in 1A-District 3) and although she ended the night against Oliver Springs (6-13, 2-2 in 1A-District 3) with 20 points and 8 rebounds, it was not enough to keep up with the Bobcats, who distributed the ball across the court to 9 different players for points on the night.
“You better hustle,” Coalfield head coach Ronnie Wilson reminded his name before the tip-off, and his words of warning manifested quickly, as the Bobcats won the tip and transitioned quickly before they missed the opening shot of the game.
The teams traded turnovers on the first two possessions, and Coalfield was able to deploy its 1-3-1 defense that looked to force Oliver Springs’ shooting game outside, but Bobcats senior forward Isabella Thornton was intent on driving the lane, and drove through the Yellow Jackets’ defense, picking up a foul and heading to the line where she hit both free throws.
Nearing the end of the first quarter, Coach Wilson called a timeout and reminded his team, "We got to have every rebound. Every rebound," an omen that would go on to be a crux of this loss for the Yellow Jackets, who were out-rebounded by the Bobcats, specifically on the offensive glass, where Oliver Springs snagged 24 offensive rebounds that created the second-chance opportunities that would become the difference maker in the contest.
The second quarter opened with Oliver Springs leading 10-6, and the Bobcats brought more energy to the court also, with senior guard Chloe Lackey scoring off an opening possession Coalfield turnover, before they forced another Yellow Jackets turnover that led to freshman guard Layla Alcorn’s first 3-pointer of the game.
Oliver Springs shifted its defense to a 3/4 court press defense that completely shut down the Coalfield offense, and the Bobcats continued the second quarter on a 12-0 run, that was not ended until AJ Armes drove through the defense and drew a foul to get to the line where she hit only the second of the two free throws.
The second half saw the same story unfold, even with Coalfield shifting its offensive approach and trying to shoot the Bobcats out of their defense, its missed shots, and a blocked shot by Thornton, led to transition baskets for Oliver Springs that built the third-quarter lead to 42-20, an insurmountable difference for the Yellow Jackets as they entered the final quarter.
Oliver Springs Bailey Barger had 7 steals in only 19 minutes of action, and on the night, the Bobcats defense forced 27 turnovers of the Yellow Jackets, with 7 different players recording steals.
By the game’s end, Oliver Springs had three players in double-digit scoring, with Alcorn, Lackey, and Thornton combining for 42 of the Bobcats’ 63 points.
The Bobcats are positioned for success this year and in the future, with senior leadership from Lackey, and freshmen like Alcorn and guard Addison Griffith, who was 4 of 5 on her field goals that added 8 points to the Bobcats' scoring tally.
The MVP of the game is Chloe Lackey. Lackey had 15 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals, and only turned the ball over one time all evening. The senior guard protected the ball almost perfectly on offense, and she kept the tempo too fast for Coalfield's defense to establish the 1-3-1 defense that might have shut down the Bobcats, had it been able to get the defense set more often in the game.
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Oliver Springs 10 19 13 21 - 63
Coalfield 6 9 5 9 - 29
Oliver Springs (6-13):
Layla Alcorn 17, Chloe Lackey 15, Bella Thornton 10
McKinlee West 20, AJ Armes 6, Ashton Chamblee 2
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