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Lady Tigers 4-1 on year with Pepsi Classic next

Published 7:48pm Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In spite of the loss of the overwhelming inside advantage that Dadeville rode to the state semifinals last year, the Lady Tigers basketball squad of 2013 hasn’t really shown any negative effects from the departure of Rae Williams and Destiny Green.
However, with the Pepsi Classic coming up, DHS girls basketball coach Mitch Joiner said he is looking forward to seeing how his team stacks up against opponent outside its 4A weight class.
“We’re 4-1 right now, but we don’t really know how good of a 4-1 it is,” he said. “I feel good about it because a lot of players are scoring and doing good things on offense, but we’ve got Benjamin Russell twice and Auburn once in the next week and a half, so we’re about to get a better gauge of what we’ve got.”
Dadeville’s latest foray onto the hardwood saw the Lady Tigers dominate Central-Clay County 50-17 after jumping out to a 14-2 first-quarter lead.
The Tigers came away with a commanding victory despite little production from their top players.
“Janeisha Moss, Araven Edwards and Laquashous Stowes have played for me for three years, and they scored seven points combined,” Joiner said. “A lot of the scoring came from our new girls. They’ve been playing a lot so they can get up to speed. They’re getting better and better. I want them to play as much as they can without Janeisha and Juzlyn (Jones), so someone can come along in case one of them goes down.”
Hallie Cocx led the team with 16 points. Sierra Wyckoff had seven points and several assists.
Kristen Tolbert had nine points and was a factor defensively, coming up with multiple steals.
“Those three are really coming along, and they’re looking good,” Joiner said. “Hallie was big for us inside. She hit the shots I asked her to hit. Sierra made some nice passes in the game, and Kristen – who started the year as maybe my No. 8 or No. 9 player – is not my No. 6 or 7 player at least. She could’ve had 15 or 16 points if not for missed layups off steals. She runs just like her brother (Dadeville point guard C.J. Tolbert), and she never stops.”
With a strong start to the season and a 2-0 record in area play, the Lady Tigers are preparing for the Pepsi Classic.
The county-wide tournament begins this Friday. Dadeville will play BRHS.
Joiner’s team will likely be without Juzlyn Jones, who is considered team team’s best post defender for the game.
“She’s out with the flu, so she’ll probably miss (the Pepsi Classic),” Joiner said. “And that’s not good for us.”
Jones would likely have drawn BRHS star center Jernika Russell as a defensive assignment, but Joiner said Russell wouldn’t be the only thing to worry about.
“Aaliyah Lawson hurt us more than Russell did the last time we played them,” he said. “We also have to work on breaking the press that they have. We have to see if we can handle it.”
Joiner said that with a tough part of the schedule coming up, it’s a prime opportunity for the Lady Tigers to see what they are made of.
“Playing teams like Benjamin Russell and Auburn, it’ll help us get better in the long run,” he said. “I think we’re playing well, and we’re able to score a lot even though our best players don’t have to contribute much. But we’re about to get a taste of what it’s like to face a team that bites back.”