Lady Badgers Continue Winning Ways

Feb 6th, 2014 | By admin | Category: Sports

TEXT & PHOTOS BY

C. MICHAEL LONG

Staff Sports Photojournalist

The Lady Badgers continued their winning ways on Homecoming Night, Friday,  January 31st at Badger Arena, against a very good Lady Raider team from Nettleton. Both teams came into the game deadlocked in Conference play at 3-3 and were looking for sole possession of third place in the 5A East Conference.

The Lady Badgers jumped out of the gate to a 7-3 lead, behind the play of Gracie Anders, MacKenzie Bingham and Kalela Miller with 5:30 remaining in the opening stanza. But, the Lady Raiders fought back and tied the game at 7-7 with 4:20 remaining in the 1st quarter and took their only lead of the night on a 3-pointer with 3:15 left in the 1st quarter, making it 10-7, Lady Raiders. But that lead did not last long, as Natalie Henley hit a long range 3-pointer at the 2:30 mark, to tie the game at 10-10. The two teams traded baskets for the final 2:30 of the 1st stanza – with the Lady Badgers holding the slimmest of leads at 14-12, after the 1st quarter.

Madison Richey and Miller put the ladies up 18-12 to start the 2nd quarter and Taylor McGraw and Miller extended the lead to 22-13 with 2:41 remaining in the 1st half with back-to-back shots. But again, the Lady Raiders fought back to get within 4 points, 22-18, at the 1:40 mark of the 1st half – the Lady Badgers hung tough and would not relinquish their lead and led the Lady Raiders 23-19 at halftime.

Gracie Anders had the hot hand coming out of the break and scored the 1st five points of the 3rd quarter – making the score 28-19 with 6:00 remaining in the quarter. Richey then hit a running jumper to extend the Lady Badgers lead to 30-21 at the 4:07 mark and Anders added another lay-up with 2:15 remaining – giving the Lady Badgers a comfortable 11 point lead, 32-21,with 2:15 left in the quarter. The Lady Raiders could only manage one free throw to end the 3rd quarter and the Lady Badgers carried a commanding ten point lead – 32-22 – into the final stanza. (The Lady Badgers held the Lady Raiders to only three points during the 3rd quarter with their aggressive man-to-man defense.)

Anders picked up a crucial 4th foul early in 4th quarter – forcing Coach Richey to substitute her in and out of the remainder of the game. The Lady Badgers then traded baskets with the visitors for the next three minutes – going up by 12 points on a Richey free throw with 4:32 remaining in the game – making the score, 42-30, Lady Badgers. The ladies continued their double-digit lead until 2:04 mark left in the game – when Anders was called for her 5th and final foul with 2:04 remaining in the game. The Lady Raiders than began to show some life – working inside to the post position, they were able to outscore the Lady Badgers 10-4 over the next last two minutes – but, the Lady Badgers were not going to let them get any closer and held on for a hard fought – well deserved, 50-46 victory, on Homecoming Night!

Leading the way for the Lady Badgers were Kalela Miller with 18 points – 10 rebounds & 2 steals, Gracie Anders with 12 points – 7 rebounds – 4 blocked shots and a steal, Ashlyn Johnson finished with 7 points – 3 rebounds – and a steal and Taylor McGraw had 3 points – 2 rebounds – a steal and 8 of the Lady Badgers 11 assists on the night. The Lady Badgers had a combined 30 rebounds in the game – one of their highest outputs of the year. Once again – a total team effort to open up the 2nd half of Conference play. The Lady Badgers now stand at 11-6 overall and 5-2 in 5A East Conference play.

After the game a happy Coach Richey added, “ I thought we played really well – we managed their top players well. We missed a few foul shots at the end of the game and that made it interesting. It was a big Conference win for us – we are now 5-2 and hold down 3rd place by ourselves. I thought Taylor did an excellent job running point for us tonight and Kalela did a good job of letting the game come to her. Defensively it was a great team effort. With the Tuesday bye coming up –we have to get ready for our longest road trip of the year against an improved Blytheville team next Friday.”

The Lady Badgers and Badgers will host Greene County Tech on Valentines Day at Badger Arena on Friday night, February 14th, with tip off at 6 p.m. in their next home game.