By Thomas Sellers Jr.
With the Brighton Lady Cardinals battling injuries and quarantines, Stan Gatlin brought a depleted roster to the Munford Gymnasium Jan. 19 for a showdown with the rival Munford Lady Cougars.
Brighton’s Tipton County foe wasn’t in a jubilant mood after suffering a couple of District 13-3A losses in competitive contests. Munford used a focused approach to dominant the Lady Cardinals for a 54-12 victory.
“Our first two games were against on paper the two best teams in the league,” Munford Head Coach Steve Poindexter said. “We played at Dyer (County), then we played Hardin (County) here. Friday we were in a 5-point game for about four straight possession halfway through the fourth quarter against Hardin. Who I consider the most talented team from top to bottom.
“Both of them are good but I think they’re a little bit more talented,” he continued. “We just had four empty possessions. I told Coach Kelly, ‘We can’t keep holding them. They’re going to score. They’re just too talented.’ They ended up getting up 6 and I think we started fouling them about with a minute and half left.”
The 11-point defeat to Hardin County motivated the Lady Cougars to earn league win No. 1 and jump into third place facing Brighton. The Lady Cougars jumped out 11-1 after 8 minutes to a couple of buckets from Shelby Kendrick. Senior Maiya Reed added a couple of layups in the opening period.
The Lady Cougars scored 24 points in the second quarter behind Kendrick, Ciara Spence, Brezia Cooper and Riley Patterson hitting shots.
Kendrick and Reed closed out the first half with baskets to make the tally 35-3 at the break. In the third quarter, the Lady Cougars defense shined keeping Brighton scoreless.
Meanwhile Munford got 4 points from Reed and Abby Haun joined the scoring input with a bucket.
The Lady Cougars lead was 45-3 entering the final period. Brighton’s first field goal of the night came courtesy of Cassidy Johnson. Johnson and her teammate Talea Taylor were a large part of Brighton’s 9-point final quarter.
The night belonged to Munford and the Lady Cougars got off the canvas in league play.
“That’s the thing with us, on the right night we’re right there,” Poindexter said. “We just have to have some people step up and make shots. Step up and make plays because the margin for error with us against good teams is almost zero. We have to play almost perfect at times.
“We’re in games people think we’re not supposed to be competing in,” he concluded. “They’re scrapping and working hard to get better. That’s the thing, all you have to do on one night is have the right win on the right night. I think if we just keep working, we can put ourselves in position to knock somebody off. That’s obviously the goal here.”