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Lady 'Cats subdue Shelbyville
Jan 31, 2007 12:00 am
SHELBYVILLE — For the sixth time in the last two seasons Saturday, Wilson Central and Shelbyville girls hooked up in a basketball game which went down to the wire.
For the fifth time, the Lady Wildcats emerged with the victory, 61-59 in overtime in a rematch of last year's state championship.
And as is usually the case, Tierney Jenkins played a major role in the Lady Wildcats' victory, this time with 25 points and 10 rebounds as Central, ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press Class AAA girls' poll, improved to 21-3. Shelbyville, which trails only No. 1 Mt. Juliet in the current poll [which will be replaced today], slipped to 22-4.
"In big games, Tierney is always going to show up," Lady Wildcat coach Bud Brandon said of the senior forward who was named State Tournament Most Valuable Player last year. "She is such a competitor and a leader. She did a good job with that on the boards.
"These girls who have been there and done that in big games came through tonight for us."
Jenkins said, "The coaches said they were going to need me tonight. I feel like I haven't been playing my best since the Mt. Juliet game [Jan. 12]. I'm trying to build from that."
The Lady Wildcats fell behind 10-2 before climbing back into a 19-19 tie on a Sara Williams layup midway through the second quarter. Jenkins' 18-footer from the key gave them their first lead since 2-0 at 30-29 midway through the third period.
"They were ready for the zone," Brandon said of Shelbyville's opening surge. "We just didn't get going offensively the first quarter.
"I think our man-to-man, you play harder and you forget about your offense. I think maybe playing tougher man-to-man defense loosens you up on offense."
But Central could never get ahead by more than one score and Shelbyville pulled into a 53-53 tie on an open layup by point guard Sha'Para Johnson with a minute left in regulation. Both teams missed shots the rest of the way to force overtime.
Layups by Jenkins and center Jasmine Hassell, who had three big interceptions in the final five minutes [including the overtime], finally lifted the Lady Wildcats to a four-point lead and the teams traded scores the rest of the way as Central sank half of its eight free throws in the four-minute extra session.
Jessyca Christopher provided most of the Lady Wildcats' outside firepower with 11 points, including three 3-pointers. Williams scored six while Lauren Wasson, Chelsea Burroughs and Lauren Farmer each flicked in a three as Central sank 22 of 59 [37.3 percent] shots from the floor and 11 of 23 free throws.
Ceny Phelps' quickness was difficult for Central to deal with as she sank 9 of 11 shots from the floor, including 2 of 4 from three-point range, for 22 points. Lanky center Alex Jarrell added 18 while power forward Anisha Buchanan tossed in 12 as Shelbyville sank 25 of 47 [53.2 percent] shots from the floor and 6 of 11 free throws.
Central returns to District 9-AAA play this week. The Lady Wildcats host No. 7 at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in a battle for second place in the league behind Mt. Juliet. They will then welcome Gallatin on Friday and their neighboring-rival Lady Bears on Feb. 6.
"Pregame, we discussed how important this one could be, that we could possibly pole vault into some great confidence going into next week," Brandon said. "This was a big game. But all our games are bigger next week than they are tonight."
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.