The championship round of the Masonic Christmas Tournament was held Tuesday night at Charlie Dalton Gym. The two girls teams that had battled their way to the top were the highly favored Warren County Middle School varsity Lady Pioneers versus the Dibrell Lady Wildcats. These two teams have developed a fierce rivalry.
Tuesday night would be a fight to the end for these two teams, with neither team willing to budge, but the lack of scoring in the first half for the Lay Wildcats would bite them in the end, giving the victory to the Lady Pioneers by a final score of 32-23.
WCMS Lady Pioneers were led by the ever-dangerous shooting of Megan Patch with a game-high 12 points. But it was not the overwhelming scoring by the Lady Pioneers that would be the deciding factor, but their relentless defense and pressure on the ball that would suffocate the Lady Wildcats offense early. WCMS built a huge 18-6 lead heading into the locker room.
After the halftime break, the Lady Wildcats regrouped and set their sights on a new path. Defense for the Lady Wildcats would have to step up huge if they had any hopes of getting back into this game in the remaining two quarters. Dibrell would match the defensive play of the Lady Pioneers in the third quarter only giving up six points to WCMS after they had just put up large numbers in the first half.
Points were not coming as fast in the third as they had previously for the Lady Pioneers. Shonayce Rutledge, Tyra Wright, and Marah Wannamaker each would score two points after the Wildcat defense stepped up to the challenge.
Dibrell forced WCMS into making poor choices with the ball in the beginning of the third quarter to stop the onslaught of Lady Pioneer scoring. Dibrell would pull within six points at one point in the second half, but it would be the closest they would get before WCMS would pull away and continue to pull away finding their range again in the fourth quarter.
Patch for WCMS had been silenced in the third quarter and unable to score. She suddenly reappeared in the fourth, along with Rutledge and Tyra Wright. With the WCMS offense back in the game, the Wildcat defense would hold on but not overcome the first-half deficit.
In a hard-fought defensive battle in the second half, the advantage would favor Dibrell. But looking back in the first half would be the demise of the Wildcats. The first and second quarters belonged to WCMS on both ends of the floor. Bri Young and Grace Rains for Dibrell usually do not have to contend with the size inside the Lady Pioneers offer and size played a factor in shutting down the Lady Wildcat inside game.
WCMS SCORING - Megan Patch 12, Shonayce Rutledge 8, Tyra Wright 6, Marah Wannamaker 4, Hailey Wood 4
Dibrell SCORING - Bri Young 9, Kailey Wood 4, Grace Rains 3, Olivia Woodlee 2, Bailey Baker 2, Makenna Mason 2, Rhealee Johnson 1