Mind over matter: Lady Cougars go into Brighton and pull off upset of rivals

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By Thomas Sellers Jr.

The Brighton Lady Cardinals spent the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday in Memphis taking Kenwood out of Clarksville.

The Lady Cardinals appeared to take care of business winning 48-26 on the campus of Lausanne. But Brighton Head Coach Stan Gatlin saw some concerns with rival and District 13-3A foe the Munford Lady Cougars next on the agenda.

“I told them yesterday despite we won by 20 yesterday over Lasuanne, ‘we play like this tomorrow we’re going to get beat,’” he said. “My guards didn’t do a good job of defending just letting people drive right pass them.  We played with no heart, no energy, like we didn’t even care defensively. About the time you care, it’s too late because you’re down in the hole. And you’re out of the game because you’ve fouled out.”

The combination of Brighton fouls, timely Munford shooting and Lady Cougar poise led to the 43-26 upset for Munford.

“I think them being in foul trouble, they’ve got some girls who can really play,” Munford Head Coach Steve Poindexter said. “I think Sylvia Jones is one of the best players in our league. I think when referees take kids out of the game like that, I think that effects the mindset of how aggressive they are.

“I felt like when she really got into foul trouble she wasn’t trying to do the things she could really do,” he added. “She might have held back to stay out of foul trouble. That was big.”

The Lady Cougars led 16-10 after one quarter with Maiya Reed making foul shots and her teammate Gabby Lincoln hitting a baseline three-pointer.

After a Reed layup to begin the second quarter, Munford was ahead 18-10. Cortayza Flowers tried to keep Brighton within striking distance when Jones went to the bench with fouls.

Flowers made a layup followed by a Demiyah Gatlin basket to make the score 18-14. Gatlin scored 4 more points to close out the first half. And her teammate Talea Taylor made a foul shot to make the score 22-19 in favor the Lady Cougars.

The Lady Cardinals managed to trim the deficit to 24-22 early in the third quarter. That’s when Lincoln struck again with another triple to make the tally 27-22.

That breathing room lasted until Flowers connected on a three-point play to deadlock the game at 29-29. Reed regained the lead for her team just before the quarter concluded.

“We didn’t win the game rebounding,” Poindexter acknowledged. “I thought they were much more aggressive and going after loose ball than we were.

“We were pretty patient on offense,” he continued. “We knew on offense if we could get certain situations we could have some advantages getting to the rim. We put people in places to knock down shots. Gabby Lincoln had a big night. She made shoots at the right time. We really needed them. I think Maiya Reed showed what kind of leader she really is. She was in foul trouble and put into some tough situations. She still stuck it out and she kept attacking. She kept putting people in position to score.”

In the fourth quarter the Lady Cougars won the period 12-7 with points from Reed, Lincoln, Brenna Cooper and senior Mary Richardson.

“And I think Mary did a good job too tonight,” Poindexter said. “Mary made free throws tonight which was big. I think with this young team, this is our first quality win in two seasons.

“We haven’t had a quality win in a while,” he added. “I told our kids, ‘if we’re going to compete for this district or anything, we’ve got to start beating good teams.’ This definitely a team you can concern a good team.”

Gatlin said his players are a quality team when they play up to their abilities.

“My seniors disappointed me tonight in their effort and how they led,” he concluded. “Hopefully they’ll bounce back because we have another tough game Friday.”

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