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SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 2007
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Decatur girls
grab second win

Full-court pressure, balanced
scoring the difference

By Paul Stackhouse
sports@decaturdaily.com 340-2460

Intensity. Energy. Enthusiasm.

Decatur High girls basketball coach Brad Boy wrote these three words on the board for all his players to see before the Lady Red Raiders' game with Russellville on Friday night.

Obviously, they kept those words in mind.

In what could be determined as anything but routine at Earl Morris Gymnasium, Decatur picked up its second victory of the season with a 58-51 win over the Lady Tigers.

"I'm so proud of this team," Boy said. "The whole season has been a challenge for us, and our girls could have packed it in any time. Everybody can see that isn't the case."

For the second time this season, four Decatur players scored double digits. For the first time this season, the Lady Raiders ran a full-court defensive press the entire game.

"This really feels good," Decatur's Whitney Fletcher said with a big smile. "In our mind, we're tired of losing and we wanted this win. All of us earned this win. You could say we wanted it real bad. The starters and the bench all had a part in this."

Ashley Henderson and Britney McCloud led Decatur (2-21) in scoring with 12 points each. Lindsey Hawkins finished with 11 points, while Shana Hubbard had 10.

"I can truly say this win was the result of a team effort," Boy said. "In the first half, two of our non-starters led the team in scoring. Lindsey and Shana both had eight points in the first half.

"When we had some of our starters get in foul trouble, the bench came through again."

Boy credited the Decatur defense in playing a major role in the victory.

"We've been building up to what we did tonight all year," Boy said. "We got to the point experience-wise where I felt we could try and run a full-court press. We did it for the whole 32 minutes. We worked on it Wednesday and Thursday, and I decided to try it. It took a lot of effort from our girls to do it.

Boy added: "Take Whitney and Ashley, for example. They ran the defense the entire time. That takes a lot of courage and determination.

The Lady Raiders led 13-11 at the end of the first quarter.

With two minutes before halftime, Russellville's Tasha West hit a 3-pointer to give the Lady Tigers a 25-23 lead. Hubbard followed with a trey of her own for Decatur to give the Lady Raiders a 26-25 lead going into intermission.

The lead changed hands three times in the third quarter before Decatur slowly began to pull away. The Lady Raiders carried a 45-34 cushion going into the final period where they never trailed again.

Victoria Taylor led Russellville in scoring with 15 points with West finishing with 12.

Decatur boys 75, Russellville 61: The third-ranked Raiders close out Class 5A, Area 16 play undefeated at 6-0 with the victory over Russellville.

Decatur led by seven points after a quarter, by 12 points after two and by 13 after three.

But Russellville closed the gap to 70-61 with 43 seconds left to play on a layup by Siran Winston. With 35 seconds to play, Decatur retaliated with a slam dunk by Rico Pickett which appeared to take the steam out of the Tigers' comeback attempt.

Pickett led Decatur (20-4) in scoring with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Jarodiaus Willingham also scored double digits for the Raiders with 24 points.

Winston led Russellville (15-6, 1-5) in scoring with 13 points with Terrance Smith finishing with 11.

Decatur coach Jamie Lee said: "We're excited about finishing 6-0 in our area. It's the first time we've won our area since 2002."

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