The Warriorettes tipped off against a local Choctaw Lady Indians at the Panama City Beach Marlin Classic.
The first quarter was slow for the Warriorettes. The Lady Indians came out firing, but Sparta fought back. Choctaw made a 6-0 on Sparta, and it wasn’t until 3:30 that Gracie Dodgen made a three to break their scoring lull. After that, it was game on. Choctaw scored the next four points. They then sent Nia Powers to the free throw line where she made both. Sparta still had trouble converting their possessions to points, but a drive and kick by Celeste Reed to Powers for a three put them in rhythm. With less than 25 seconds left, Choctaw missed both free throws. This allowed Mia Murray a three on the other end. The score 13-11, Sparta trailing two, the end of the first.
Powers started the second quarter with a drive and a foul. She made 1/2 for the Warriorettes to trail one. Murray came back and hit a quick jumper. This let Sparta take the lead by one. Dodgen got down the floor and bounced it to Reed for a layup. The Warriorettes now up 16-13 two minutes into the second. The scoring run made Choctaw call a timeout. An illegal screen was called on them after they inbounded the ball. White County’s ball and Stiles takes it to the rim. A few seconds later, Reed runs the floor and Frazier throws it up to her for two. The Lady Indians made the next three points, but they still trailed and missed the front end of a one-and-one. At 3:12, Powers made a great post move and went up for two. Sparta was up 21-16. Choctaw scored two and so did Stiles from the free throw line. Powers turned right around and scored a layup as well. With less than two minutes in the half, White County’s transition found Dodgen a basket. They led by nine at this point. Powers made another layup followed by Morgan Quick’s three and Murray’s 2/2 foul shots. The Lady Indians got off one more shot before halftime. Sparta led 34-20.
By 5:33, Choctaw had cut the lead in half, trailing by seven. Two White County fouls gave them four points, and then they knocked down an open three. Choctaw outscored Sparta 19-17 in the third, but the Warriorettes still had the lead. After the Lady Indians’ run, Quick assisted Dodgen for a 3; 37-27. Choctaw was fouled but only made one free throw. Stiles put up two points on the other end. The Lady Indians hit a jumper, but Dodgen and Powers answered with back-to-back threes. Choctaw had to take a timeout. The Warriorettes led by 15, with 3:20 to go. After their timeout, Powers hit another two. Choctaw then would score 10 to cut the lead to nine. Quick completed an And1 with 20 ticks left. Sparta still had the lead by the end of the third at 51-39.
The third and fourth quarters were intense. It wasn’t until the 6:47 mark that someone would score, and it was Choctaw. Both teams had turned it over before then. Choctaw score one right after the other, chipping away at the score. A foul on the Lady Indians around the five-minute mark allowed Powers to knock down a two from the high post off of an inbound play. Choctaw went the other way with it, made a layup, and went back for a three. The Warriorettes inbounded the ball, with less than four minutes left. They led by seven. Off of the inbound, Murray cut the backside for two. With 3:21 remaining, Choctaw scored off an offensive rebound and then made two free throws the next trip down. The Lady Indians had just made this a three-point game. Sparta panicked, but took care of business. Murray passed the ball to Powers down the floor for two. Quick drained a three soon after. Choctaw made a bucket, but Dodgen knocked down two foul shots. The Warriorettes led 62-54, but the Lady Indians made two threes to make it 62-60, with 50 seconds left. What should have been a technical foul still sent Powers to the line for 1/2. A missed front end of one-and-one from Sparta pushed a Choctaw timeout, with 16.3 seconds left in the game. The Warriorettes led by three and Choctaw had the ball on the sideline. They missed a three, and the ball went out of bounds. White County would take over, and Quick got fouled. She made both free throws, with 8.5 seconds left. Choctaw tried for another three but missed. Sparta held onto the victory with a 65-60 win, making them Champions.
The Warriors played a tough game against MBA from Nashville. MBA controlled the opening tip. They go down and make a three right off the bat. Clark answers the other way with one as well, but MBA sinks another. The score 3-6 in Big Red’s favor.
Grant Slatten takes it to the rim with a nice move and an And1. #0 for MBA made his third three within 1:30 into the game. Slatten dribbled down the floor and kicked it to Kade Clark for two. Another three from MBA, and Tanner Paul goes the other way for a foul—he makes both. Halfway through, MBA got four offensive rebounds and finally one went in. Clark finished a nice spin move on the opposite side. Big Red made yet again an-other 3. They also went 1/2 on the foul line right after. Slatten drove and rose up over three defenders to make a shot. MBA’s #0 answered back with a 3. With 1:23 left, Slatten spotted up in the corner for a 3. The Warriors trailed 17-21 at this point, and the score didn’t change for the remainder of the quarter. After Slatten’s three, Clark took two charges back-to-back.
MBA also got the ball to start the second and got a quick two. Slatten drove into the middle of the paint and got fouled. He completed both free throws. He got fouled right after and made both of a one-and-one. MBA drove to the rim and completed an And1. The score 21-26 Big Red. Clark took another charge to make it White County’s ball. He hit Paul off of a cut for a layup. MBA didn’t score on their possession, but Paul got his own rebound and found Slatten for a jumper. The Warriors had cut the score 25-26; 5:30 remaining in the half. MBA made the next three points and caused a Sparta timeout. After the timeout, Clark drove and spun for two. The Big Red made the next five points, but Nash and Slatten contributed the last six of the half. The score was 33-43 at the end of the half. The Warriors trailed.
Big Red had scored 20 points in the third and the Warriors 19. MBA owned the ball to start, and they made five straight points. At 6:45, Clark found Slatten for three from his offensive rebound. MBA made a pair of free throws and a layup to lead 52-36. Slatten drove to the middle and got fouled. He made the first but missed the second, and MBA took it to their end for three. Clark got his offensive rebound, kicked it to Gentry, who then kicked it to Slatten for a three. MBA made one more three before calling a timeout. They led 58-40, with 4:14 to go in the third. After the timeout, Slatten stripped a three. Around the three-minute mark, Nash went up and was pushed. He shot four free throws for an intentional and technical foul, making all four. MBA went for a three, got fouled, and made 2/3. A travel called on the Warriors allowed MBA to drive to the other end and complete an And1. Davis stepped in and knocked down a three for the Warriors. What should have been a goaltending call became an inbound for the Warriors; Clark made a two. MBA didn’t score for the last minute of the third but still led 52-63.
White County possessed the ball for the start of the fourth. They didn’t convert, so MBA went the other way for a three. Nash bounced back with a drive down the lane for two. Clark tried to take his fourth charge, but it was called a block. MBA shot 2/2. They also scored the next four, making the score 54-68, with 5:56 left in the game. Sparta called a timeout, and Slatten got fouled when they came out, 2/2. MBA made the next five points. Slatten used a shot fake and made a jumper. With 3:33 and the score 58-77, Clark fouls out. MBA went to the line 2/2 and made a three after that. MBA controlled the rest of the game. They defeated the Warriors 94-66.
The Warriors and Warriorettes will travel to Wilson Central, on Jan. 5, 2021.