The Benjamin Russell girls basketball team lost in a close heartbreaker to the Dadeville Tigers, 43-40 Friday night.
The game was a close affair from start to finish with Dadeville never gaining more than a five-point lead throughout. The first quarter started off slow, like two boxers feeling each other out, which led to a low scoring first quarter with a lot of perimeter shots and misses.
The second quarter became much more physical right off the bat with the Tigers aggressively attacking the paint on offense and forcing turnovers on defense. That had Benjamin Russell reeling and fighting for their lives much of the second quarter. Dadeville went into the half with all the momentum and a 20-15 lead over the Wildcats.
“We got behind in the first half and were playing catch-up the whole game it felt like,” Benjamin Russell assistant coach Cody Glenn said. “I’m proud of how hard we hustled and didn’t give up, we just got tired towards the end and that’s something we can work on.”
The second half saw more of the same physical play inside the paint, this time from both teams. Dadeville was moving the ball around constantly and was getting quite the group effort, while Benjamin Russell senior Brooklyn Edwards was mostly a one-woman band, crashing the offensive boards and making life hard for the Tigers with her size on defense. Edwards pulled her team to within three points going into the fourth and finished the night with 12 points.
With a 29-26 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, the Wildcats stole all the momentum from the Tigers and looked to take the lead when Dadeville coach Pam Holloway made some key changes that helped Dadeville keep and hold the lead.
“We switched things up (Friday)for our girls,” cHolloway said. “Our three guards (D’Aja) Caldwell, (Janiya) Wyckoff and (Nhylee) Banks played in different spots (Friday) trying to get Layla Grace worked back into the lineup who has been out with injury and they really impressed me.”
Wyckoff usually roams around for the Tigers and is their do-it-all player, but Friday, she ran the point very well for Dadeville.
Wyckoff through in the clutch for her teammates, getting a rebound before getting fouled with just seconds left, and then making the free throws to ice the game.
“Benjamin Russell always gives us trouble with their defense and forcing turnovers,” Holloway said. “(Friday) we slowed it down and played at our tempo to limit that and I think it worked well for us.”