Dixie Toes the Line Against Newton
J. C. Tilton
The Dixie girls hit a slow stretch where they could not win a game earlier in the season. But they seem to have regrouped and have gained confidence in the new year. They continued their winning ways last Saturday against the CCC's Newton Indians. Dixie was 12 of 25 free throws in the first half, but would make some clutch shots toeing the line in last minutes of the game to seal the win. They would score a total of 25 points from their foul shots.
Both teams opened with similar defensive strategies. Man to man half court and full court pressure. This seemed to work to Newton's advantage early as they were able get a slim lead in the first quarter, Dixie was playing catch up. However Dixie had a late surge and were able to gain a 2 point lead.
Dixie's Randi Bargo and Hilliary Nill both picked up two fouls early and had to spend some time on the bench. But the aggressive defense play was taking a toll on Newton as well. Early in the second quarter, Dixie was already getting bonus, and at the midway point they were getting double bonus. In the first half, Dixie was not making their shots consistently at the charity stripe. Still 9 of their 16 second quarter points were from the foul line. Dixie had a comfortable lead towards the end of the quarter. But Newton's Sarah Hess dropped a couple of shots and added a free throw to cut the lead to 3. Dixie's Randi Bargo made the last point of the half to make it a 28-24 game going into the locker rooms.
Newton had to go to a zone defense as their aggressive man to man was causing too many fouls. When the teams entered the 4th quarter it was a 6 point game. Newton came out aggressively in the last quarter and Dixie got off to a poor start. Dixie had 3 turnovers in the opening minutes, then Randi Bargo picked up her 3rd foul. Newton's Emily Meyers hit a three point shot, then Katie Stewart would connect and suddenly it was a one point ball game. The momentum was starting to shift. Dixie's Coach May took a time out to get the team refocused. Dixie settled down and began to play better basketball. Also the foul bug was starting to catch up to Newton. From about the 4 minute mark on, Dixie was getting bonus. And they began to take trips to the foul line and making their shots. Dixie rang up 9 points in the last half of the quarter, all of them from the foul line. With Dixie connecting on their tosses, Newton went to the long ball strategy - shooting beyond the arc. Their shots were not dropping and Dixie pulled away to win 52-44.
Coach May was asked for her comments, “When we keep our turnovers down, that's when we play our game - we only had 15 turnovers today. We had some people step up - Megan Millikin with 15, Alex Cummins for 13, and Randi Bargo had 10. We really had balanced scoring - Kelhoffer had 11, I was happy to have 4 people in double digits. Randi Bargo had 12 rebounds for a double double. We did give up way too many offensive rebounds. “
Newton Coach Kadel was asked for his response, “We like to play man to man and keep up the pressure, but we were unable to do that with the fouls, we ended up with 4 players with 4 fouls apiece. We don't like the zone, but we really didn't have much of a choice. It's been our story all year, we did everything but shoot the ball well today.” Comments: email: Chris Tilton