Sometimes basketball games are won on the defensive end, and it was some defensively-generated offense that took the day for Dadeville girls basketball Tuesday.

In a tight game in the closing stretches, two steals by junior D’aja Caldwell and senior Kaniyah Wilkerson set up senior Janiya Wyckoff for a layup and a trio of free throws after she was fouled on a 3-point attempt.

Those five points iced away a victory for the Tigers, who beat Benjamin Russell 30-24 at home Tuesday.

Caldwell, Wyckoff and Nhylee Banks manufactured all 30 points for Dadeville, with five, 11 and 14 points, respectively. Naskia Russell picked up eight points in the losing effort for the Wildcats.

“The win felt good, and at this point we still have a lot of things to work on,” Dadeville coach Pam Holloway said. “But it felt good to be able to not let up, and the girls are starting to try and find their way in different ways early on in the season.”

Back-and-forth the two sides steadily went as the game opened, Holloway said, with the two teams exchanging buckets in the game’s early stretches.

With the two sides clawing for every chance, Benjamin Russell held a 20-16 lead for what felt like ages.

“It stayed a four-point lead for the longest time. 20-16 just stayed in my mind for the longest,” Holloway said, laughing. “It seemed like neither of us could get the ball to go in on either end. But we just hung around and stayed patient and tried to cut back on turnovers as best we could.”

Dadeville outscored Benjamin Russell 14-4 the rest of the way, however, setting up Wyckoff’s game-clinching tear. The Wildcats did their best to make things difficult, though, Holloway noted,

“They have some really good-sized athletes, and they always have really good athletes. They didn’t let up at all.”

She added that the Tigers dialed up the pressure to generate scores in transition.

While Wilkerson fenced off Benjamin Russell’s perimeter, Caldwell and senior Layla Grace were the glue of Dadeville’s defense on the interior.

They swatted back countless shots Tuesday, removing scoring opportunities in a game that didn’t provide many of them.

“They had a lot of key blocks,” Holloway said.

Following Thanksgiving break, Dadeville resumes its season on the road at Central Coosa Dec. 3. Benjamin Russell returns home to face Opelika Nov. 30.

Recommended for you