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Lizi Arbogast / The Outlook Benjamin Russell's Bre Smith (4) goes up for a shot between a pair of Sylacauga defenders.

It seemed like Benjamin Russell’s girls basketball team might be in for another long, turnover-filled night. But despite having eight miscues in the first quarter alone and holding onto just a two-point lead after one frame, the Wildcats earned a dominating 49-24 victory over Sylacauga in non-area action.

The defense absolutely took over after those first eight minutes. The Aggies scored 12 points in the opening quarter then 12 points in the last three combined.

“We really had to start playing from the tip and that’s what we did,” BRHS girls coach Latreisha Moon said. “I think that we all stepped up and played as a team. I was impressed with our defense and I wanted to get the other girls into a (1-2-2) at the end of the game to see how they worked at it.”

Benjamin Russell (1-1) held Sylacauga to just one field goal after the first quarter and although the Aggies scored seven points in the fourth, they collected them all on free throws. Sylacauga didn’t do a horrible job with turnovers but it was the rebounding where BRHS really excelled. On nearly every possession, the Wildcats seemed to get second, third and even fourth chances.

Scoring was also a key area of focus after the first game, which Benjamin Russell lost Thursday night against Childersburg. BRHS still didn’t put up that many points but it did get contributions from several different sources.

“We don’t have that one girl that we can go to and be done with it so everybody is going to have to score,” Moon said. “We told them in the locker room there were a couple plays Na’Skia (Russell) got ahead and she caught a couple passes up front, and that’s what we gotta do. We gotta beat people up the court and look ahead to score.”

Bre Smith led the Wildcats with 14 points as eight different BRHS players got their names on the scoresheet. Timira Lawson finished with eight, Russell added seven and Bae Calhoun contributed six.

Nearly the entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock so Benjamin Russell got a chance to get every player in on the action.

“We got everybody in (Tuesday night), and it was good practice for us too,” Moon said “Instead of just practicing against each other, we got a chance to practice against Sylacauga so it was really good to be able to play everybody. That’s always the goal.”

Tuesday marked the beginning of a busy week for BRHS, which travels to Talladega on Thursday night and Smiths Station on Friday. It also was the start of a lengthy road trip for the Wildcats, who won’t return to their friendly confines until Dec. 10.

Lizi Arbogast is the sports editor at Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc.