Lady Bulldogs ride big 1st quarter to tournament title
by Rip Donovan
Dec 29, 2013 | 1693 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ranburne’s Hali Wilson puts up a shot over two Jacksonville Christian defenders Saturday. (Photo by Joey D'Anna/The Anniston Star)
Ranburne’s Hali Wilson puts up a shot over two Jacksonville Christian defenders Saturday. (Photo by Joey D'Anna/The Anniston Star)
JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville Christian sent Ranburne to the consolation bracket on the first night of last year’s JCA Holiday Classic. A year later, the Bulldogs handed their hosts some payback. Ranburne captured the championship of the 2013 Holiday Classic with a 67-46 win over the Thunder Saturday night.

Senior Indiana Morgan scored eight of her game-high 22 points in the first quarter, Jessie Ralston had seven and Hali Wilson four as Ranburne used its full-court pressure and transition offense to create a 23-5 lead after one quarter. By halftime, the Bulldogs led 35-13.

“Our goal was to hold them to single digits the first quarter and we were going to try to score in the 20s. I think that set the tone,” Ranburne coach Tim Smith said. “They played even with us the whole second half. We pretty much had that 20-point cushion. (JCA) shot well. I knew they were going to shoot well.”

Ranburne (8-5) started with a 12-0 run. The game was four minutes old when a basket by Calley Compton got Jacksonville Christian (7-5) on the scoreboard.

“It just took us a while to get in the groove. It really did,” said first-year Thunder coach Brooke Lee. “We were really bad off shooting to start with. It took a while to get in sync.”

Points came more frequently for the Thunder after intermission as Sarah Crook tallied eight points in the third quarter when JCA outscored Ranburne 19-14. Briah Cupp had eight in the fourth for the Thunder but Morgan matched her total for the Bulldogs.

Ralston ended with 15 points. Kat Runels and Hannah Phillips each had 10 points for Ranburne and Wilson scored eight.

Senior Elysabeth Morales had a double-double of 11 rebounds and 10 points to lead the Thunder. Crook scored 11 points. Cupp had 10 points and three assists. Compton finished with seven rebounds, four points and three steals.

Smith was pleased with his players willingness to give up the ball to open teammates making transition offense a major part of Ranburne’s game.

“I think all the girls played so unselfishly tonight,” he said. “It’s a fun group.”

Lee said that although her young team trailed by 22 points at halftime she challenged them to approach the second half as a new game.

“They never quit ‘til the end. I love that. I think that’s how we’ve progressed throughout the year. They are fighters.”

Wellborn 39, Donoho 23: In the girls’ consolation game, Morgan Jordan and Dymond Myles each scored in double figures as Wellborn downed Donoho. Jordan finished with 13 points and Myles scored 11. Kierra Evans added nine points for the Panthers.

Donoho led 5-4 after one quarter but Wellborn began trapping at half court as the second quarter opened and eventually wore the youthful Falcons down. A 3-point basket by Amanda Sherer just before the halftime buzzer got Donoho close at 20-17 but the Falcons scored just six points in the final two quarters. Wellborn pulled away with a 12-2 margin in the fourth quarter.

Point guard AnnaMarie Woodfin led the Falcons with 11 points and was 5-for-7 at the free throw line.
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