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Reynolds lifts Lady Cougars to win

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer

Following his team’s second-half performance against Bassett on Monday night, Patrick County girls basketball coach Glenn Burnett could only chuckle when asked if he was surprised his team led after three quarters.

And for good reason.

The Cougars shot 33 percent after 24 minutes, had scored 25 points, committed just four fewer turnovers (28) than total field goal attempts (32), and managed only 11 field goals. Yet, through all that, Patrick County led 25-21, riding a strong second-half defense and sophomore Piedmont District Player of the Year Ebony Reynolds.

Reynolds’ double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds, and the Cougars’ (12-6, 5-0 PD) 29-10 second half vaulted Patrick County in first place in the PD with a 40-27 victory in Bassett.

“When Ebony scores that bucket right before half, I’m thinking that’s big, because that got us to within six points,” Burnett said. “We were playing good defense; it was all a matter of hitting a few shots. And I thought if we could just get it tied, I felt like we could make it our game. The fact that we moved the ball so successfully like we did in the third made all the difference.”

Reynolds scored all nine of her team’s points in the second quarter as Bassett (11-2, 4-1) opened up a 17-11 halftime lead after the teams combined for all of four points in the opening quarter. The sophomore forward had nine points and seven rebounds by the break.

“When we’re down, that just motivates us to score, because we knew we had to bring it if we wanted to get back into the game,” Reynolds said. “I knew I had to box out as hard as I could. We couldn’t give up, and we knew we’d be able to put points up on the board.”

That is exactly what the Cougars did in the third quarter. They scored three more points than they did by intermission. Patrick County held Bassett to without a field goal and hit 6-of-16 from the field offensively.

Once the Cougars tied the game at 18 with a 7-0 run, they then finished off the quarter by scoring seven of the final 10 points as Gracen Witt scored five of the seven. Patrick County finally pushed its lead to double digits in the fourth quarter on a Ana Dobson 3-pointer to make it 36-25.

“Once they do get hot, they stay hot, because they have good shooters. I didn’t think I adjusted to it in time until they hit those two jumpers,” Bassett head coach Melissa Blair said.

Witt and Anna Shough came off the bench and provided quality minutes not only in the third quarter but for the entire second half. The duo combined for eight points and nine rebounds.

“It’s very important for us to know what we’re doing when we come off the bench, because we have to maintain our speed and not let it drop off,” Witt said. “We just couldn’t make some baskets. We couldn’t drop off and allow them room, it was important for us to stay up in their grill.”

The second half offensive woes for the Bengals started from the outset. They were held without a field goal in 13 attempts in the third quarter and shot eight percent (2-24) in the second half. They finished 8-for-57 in the game.

Bassett’s Andrea Venable said Patrick County’s ability to shut down the lanes is a big reason for the offensive drop off.

“We’re more of a driving team and Patrick County made us shoot from the outside for us to get our points,” Venable said. “When they took away our drive, we weren’t as effective. First home loss is a tough one.”

Reynolds then helped seal the game with her six points and five rebounds in the fourth quarter. Overall, Patrick County outrebounded Bassett 52-33.

“Ebony really carried us in the second quarter and pretty much throughout the game,” Burnett said. “She battled and made the most of her opportunities when she touched the ball. She can be an incredible player and is just scratching the surface of what we do.”


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