Atlanta advances over Lady Eagles
Published 12:00 am Friday, February 15, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
After a brutal district schedule in which it went 1-5, including four games against teams with 32 wins or more, Atlanta was still recognized as the sixth seed in the Class C playoffs.
It was determined in the first round to prove that the seeding was no fluke, leaving visiting Reserve Christian to try to fend off the charge. But at the end of the game on Thursday night, Atlanta emerged a bi-district winner, 72-18, advancing to the second round.
“They moved the ball very well. They’ve got good size and are just very athletic all-around,” said Reserve Assistant Coach Kristy Crews.
Atlanta (23-12) took a 22-2 lead after a quarter, and never looked back as it advanced to the regional round.
Reserve struggled to run with the opposition, who substituted freely and pushed the tempo.
“They’re real deep,” said Crews. “They were pushing it most of the game. They’re very disciplined and extremely well-coached.”
Daysha Blount led the Lady Eagles (2-13) in scoring with eight points.
While the loss was a tough way for the season to end, Crews said that the players had little to hang their heads over this season.
“Everyone has improved so much since the beginning of the year,” said Crews. “They were scoring better, hustling more, and basically improving in every category as the season wound down.”
On Monday night, Reserve came up just short in its attempt to notch a district win, losing 47-45 to Phoenix in overtime.
Raquel Scott led a balanced effort for Reserve with nine points. Blount, Jamie Bolden and Kelly Crews each scored eight. Jermany Thompson added seven.
Reserve led 27-19 at halftime after making adjustments from its previous matchup with Phoenix. But Phoenix was able to make a run and draw within one entering the fourth quarter, 31-30.
“Early, we were getting out on a lot of fast breaks,” said Reserve Coach Natalie Simon. “We played a 2-3 defense, and put pressure on them to force some turnovers.”
“They pressed us in the third quarter, and everyone wasn’t quite used to that defensive intensity.”
With Reserve leading by five late, Phoenix scored to pull within three, then registered a three-point play to tie the game at 39, forcing overtime.
Phoenix (6-13, 4-0) scored with seven seconds left in overtime to go ahead 47-45, and Reserve had four seconds left to score after a deflection out of bounds.
But the Eagles’ attempt would not go, and time expired before they could get off a second attempt.
Simon said that the Eagles began to gel as a team as the season drew to a close.
“I think they see that they can be really good,” she said. “It was a good season, and I’m looking forward to next year.”