E.A. Sports Today

Lady Indians rally to avoid upset

McCoy comes alive in the second half, brings Ohatchee from 11 down at the break to a spot in the quarterfinals

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – The shiner under her left eye told opponents and fans alike all they needed to know about Ally McCoy.

She’s a fighter.

The same could be said for her Ohatchee basketball teammates. The sixth-seeded Lady Indians came from 11 points down at halftime Tuesday to beat No. 11 Weaver 52-46 and avoid an upset in the Calhoun County Girls Basketball Tournament.

They now play third-seeded Jacksonville Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Last year the Lady Indians were upset in a double overtime classic against Pleasant Valley and that was definitely on their minds during this one.

“We did not want that to happen again,” Ginn said. “I told our kids to keep playing through everything and keep fighting and we did.

“They kicked our butts in the first half. We came out and settled down in the second half and had great energy after being so sluggish. I told the girls at halftime we’re down 11, that’s five baskets; it ain’t like we’re out of it, we’ve got a whole half to play. Our deal was let’s cut it to single digits before the start of the fourth … I am just so proud of the way we played in the second half.”

The Lady Indians (12-6) never led until Madison Hanks ripped down an offensive rebound and stuck it back with 1:13 to play. They closed it out with two free throws by Cheyenne McCarter and, finally, two by McCoy with 6.7 seconds left.

McCoy, who suffered the bruise in a collision diving for a loose ball in practice earlier in the week, kicked off their comeback with a brilliant third quarter in which she hit two 3s and six free throws to knot the game at 29-29. She scored 18 points in the second half and finished with 20.

The Lady Bearcats’ ability to close was impacted by guards Rayne Beck and Caleigh Cortez fouling out and post Mariah Thompson hampered with four fouls. Cortez picked up her fourth foul at the 6:36 mark and sat out the rest of the third quarter.

“The foul calls in the second half took me out of everything we wanted to do,” Weaver coach Gary Atchley said. “I thought we had a great defense drew up for them. We’ve been practicing for about a week and half on what we were going to run on people and it looked good tonight.

“We played great the first half and were going to do the exact same thing the second half, and for some reason everything that wasn’t fouls the first half were fouls the second half. I don’t know how to tell my kids to play any different. Losing my two guards, my two ball handlers, hurt. Our Achilles heel is depth and they got into it tonight.”

Beck sparked the Lady Bearcats early, pouring in nine first-quarter points to help them to a 13-7 lead. The Lady Indians got 3- point baskets from Kourtney Shuler and Makenzie Hanks to chop the lead to 17-13 midway through the second quarter, then Weaver’s Emily Reed answered with a pair of 3s to key a 10-3 run that gave her team an 11-point halftime lead.

Beck led the Bearcats’ valiant effort with 17 points. Thompson had 10 points and rebounds.

“They’re hurting,” Atchley said. “This is the first time in a long time I’ve had a basketball team that’s hurting because of a loss. It’s going to make them hungry. We can play with anybody in this county and I think those girls in that locker room know it.”

Ohatchee 52, Weaver 46

WEAVER (8-11) — Tayanna Perry 1 0-0 2, Rayne Beck 8 2-3 17, Emily Reed 3 0-0 8, Hannah Roberts 0 0-0 0, Mariah Thompson 2 6-11 10, Abby Gaines 1 0-0 2, Caleigh Cortez 2 2-3 7. Totals 17 10-17 46.

OHATCHEE (12-6) — Courtney Poole 1 0-0 2, Hannah Howell 0 0-0 0, Ally McCoy 4 10-14 20, Kourtney Shuler 3 0-0 8, Kacie Cooper 1 0-0 2, Makenzie Hanks 2 0-0 6, Madison Hanks 4 1-3 9, Cheyenne McCarter 1 3-4 5. Totals 16 14-21 52.

Weaver 13 14 6 13 — 46
Ohatchee 7 9 16 20 — 52

3-point goals: Weaver 2 (Reed); Ohatchee 6 (Shuler 2, Mak. Hanks 2, McCoy 2). Fouled Out: Beck, Cortez, Shuler. Total fouls: Weaver 21, Ohatchee 21. Officials: Harwood, Williams, Bugg.

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