Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Decatur's Shannon Laughlin moves the ball upcourt against Austin's Shara Foster at Calhoun Community College on Friday night. With the 54-39 win, Austin improved to 6-4 on the year. Decatur fell to 0-8.
Nerves, crowd can't stop Lady Bears
By Paul Stackhouse
Playing before a full house at Calhoun Community College's gymnasium Friday night, Austin High girls basketball coach Bruce Hamilton wasn't sure how his players would respond in front of a large, loud crowd.
The Lady Black Bears handled it well as they rolled to a 54-39 victory over cross-town rival Decatur.
"Not a lot of girls on either team have a lot of experience playing in this kind of atmosphere," Hamilton said. "Some of our girls were nervous, but I thought the team responded like I thought they would and came out with a good win.
"I thought Decatur out-executed us at times but we played hard, we just didn't play smart all the time. I felt like we fouled too much."
Both Austin and Decatur finished the game with 18 personal fouls each.
Neither team was able to pull away offensively for most of the first half. Austin led 16-11 at the end of the first quarter before putting together a late surge in the second.
Andrea Crayton hit two free throws with four seconds remaining to give the Lady Bears a 28-18 advantage at halftime.
"We were somewhat upset in the locker room at halftime," Decatur coach Brad Boy
"We thought we should have been closer or even leading the game at the half. Take away a couple of missed layups and a few bad decisions and we could have been in the lead."
The Lady Raiders were unable to trim the Austin lead, and the Lady Black Bears held a 39-27 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
Jasmine Powers led Austin (6-4) in scoring with 14 points. Shara Foster also hit double figures with 10 points. Shara Foster and Shanise Foster led the Lady Bears in rebounding with seven each.
"We're on a winning streak right now," Shanise Foster said. "We beat Florence on Tuesday and now Decatur. We need to keep that streak going. I thought we could have played better tonight but a win is a win, especially against Decatur. The Decatur games are the biggest games of the year."
Whitney Fletcher led Decatur (0-8) in scoring with 11 points.
"We're not necessarily measuring our success in wins and losses right now," Boy said. "We're having to measure our success in how much we are improving.
"This is the best overall four quarters that we have put together this season. I'm really glad to see that. It shows that we are improving."
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