(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
BROSELEY -- The Dexter Lady Bearcats left the Twin Rivers Lady Royals Classic Tournament with a third place trophy on Wednesday night after defeating the Kelly Lady Hawks 56-36.
Dexter had a strong showing from the almost dominate post presence of senior Abbie Warren and freshman Brittany Harris.
Both Warren and Harris owned the glass against the Lady Hawks. They combined for 28 points that were, for the most-part, from offensive put-backs. And with both of them patrolling the post, they're a tough tandem to try and handle.
"With her (Harris) and Abbie Warren, that's good post-players to have on a team," Dexter head coach Chad Allen said. "They do such a great job."
Dexter (7-5) was able to overcome an early deficit to gain and sustain a lead with less than four minutes to play in the first quarter. Back-to-back buckets from Harris tied the game a 6 and then gave Dexter an 8-6 lead. From that point on Dexter never trailed again in the contest.
A 16-10 lead at the end of the first quarter grew to a seven-point lead at the half and then blew up to a 22-point lead after the third. One of the main reasons for that Allen said was defense.
"It was so much better tonight than it was last night," Allen said. "It's still not there. We're definitely going to have to work on it a lot over Christmas break, that and our passing. But, I think we'll get a whole lot better as the year goes on and who knows what can happen at the end of the year."
It was that same defense that caused some execution problems for the Lady Hawks. Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter noted that execution was something his squad had to work on going into the rest of the season.
"When you play against great teams you have to execute," McQuerter said. "Basketball isn't about X's and O's. It's all about simply, putting the basketball in the hole and stopping them from putting it in the hole. And those are the things that we'll work on -- stopping teams from putting it in the hole."
Kristen Powell led the Hawks (6-2) with 12 points while Londyn Backfisch added 10.
Harris led Dexter with 16 points. Warren had 12 and Lauren Ward chipped in with eight.
Allen noted that Harris has vastly improved from one year to the next, even as a freshman.
"She has really stepped up for us," Allen said. "Her game from last year to this year has just exploded. This year she's taking it off the dribble and looking to score. Her game has just elevated and she's done a great job for us this year."
And while Warren and Harris are controlling the paint, it may benefit players like Ward, Katelynn Frazier and Erika Mouser the best as they constantly drive towards the basket with little resistance.
"Our guards are improving a lot," said Allen. "They're getting a lot of experience being young. I think we're just going to keep on getting better."
Both teams finished better than their respective rankings to begin the tournament. Dexter, the No. 4 seed, walked away with third place while Kelly, the No. 6 seed, finished fourth. McQuerter couldn't be happier.
"To come out of here with a fourth place finish out of 16 teams, what more could you ask for?" Kelly head coach Rod McQuerter said. "I told our girls 'thank you for the Christmas present because there's eight teams out there that didn't get what you got.' This is why we come to tournaments like this. You don't want to come to a tournament where the games are easy. You come to tournaments like this to see where you stand as a basketball team. Right now, we know what are strengths are and we know what our weaknesses are."
KELLY (36) -- Londyn Backfisch 10, Carissa Klipfel 1, Kristen Vetter 2, Neely Tetley 2, Kayla Hicks 7, Samantha Fisher 2, Kristen Powell 12. FG 14 FT 8-14 F 14. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)
DEXTER (56) -- Katelynn Frazier 6, Lauren Ward 6, Shelbie Hessling 8, Brittany Harris 16, Erika Mouser 2, Abbie Warren 12, Sarah Langley 2, Kaitlyn Phillips 4. FG 24 FT 8-11 F 14. (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: none.)