Same girls but much different result for Neal in second game
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Granted, the Northview (Fla.) Lady Chiefs will probably not be mistaken for the WNBA champion Detroit Shock anytime soon.
Yet based on the way the W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles played Monday, they may no longer be mistaken for the team that lost by 40 points in its season opener to Clarke County Friday.
W.S. Neal did a complete reversal Mondy when it dismantled visiting Northview 57-37 for its first victory of the season.
"Northview is a pretty young team, but our girls did a nice job. It was a good win for them," W.S. Neal coach Tom Lawler said.
Many of the same things that beat the Lady Blue Eagles in their season opener were things they used to beat Northview (0-4).
In the Clarke County game, W.S. Neal committed 25 turnovers, was outrebounded 45-17 and allowed Clarke County to have a 74-40 edge in field goal attempts.
Monday saw W.S. Neal reduce its turnovers to 16 although nine of those came in the fourth quarter when the outcome had long since been decided. The Lady Blue Eagles had a 42-37 rebounding edge and took five more shots than Northview.
From an individual standpoint, sophomore Carolyn Marshall played a key role in the turnaround with 18 points. Freshman Tierra Andrews added 13.
"We changed our offensive approach from the Clarke County game. This time we had Carolyn become our primary ballhandler and she did a good job of taking the ball to the basket," Lawler said.
W.S. Neal never trailed in the game and a bucket by Marshall snapped the only tie at 2-2 in the early moments.
With the Lady Blue Eagles up 10-9 five minutes into the game, W.S. Neal went on the decisive 27-6 run to close out the first half.
The Lady Blue Eagles began that stretch with eight points in succession. A hoop and two free throws by Timaya Nolan, a steal and layup by Andrews and steal and layup by Olivia Thompson quickly increased the lead to 18-9.
Andrews had back-to-back buckets to start the second quarter that knocked the advantage into double digits for the first time at 22-11.
Later in the quarter Andrews bagged a three-pointer from the wing and added a fastbreak layup to finish the first half with 11 points. Marshall and Tiara Matthews also hit three-pointers in the second quarter, as W.S. Neal's lead grew to 37-15 at the midway point.
While Rhonda Bradley contributed a three-pointer for the Lady Blue Eagles in the third quarter, it was the inside game led by Nolan that did a lot of the damage that period. Nolan, who joined Marshall and Andrews in double figures with 10 points, had a trio of buckets. Two of those came off offensive rebounds.
W.S. Neal's defense was also effective. When Northview's Ashley Rawlinson hit a field goal with a minute left in the third quarter, it was just the second basket in 12 minutes for the Lady Chiefs. By then W.S. Neal had opened up a commanding 50-19 lead.
If there was one down side to W.S. Neal's win, it was its fourth quarter play. In addition to nine turnovers, it allowed Northview's Alexis White to score all 18 of her team's points that period. White had 30 of the 37 points in the game for the Lady Chiefs.
"The biggest thing I want for our girls to do this season is improve their skills," Lawler said.
Based on Monday's result, W.S. Neal did just that.
Next up for the Lady Blue Eagles is the Escambia County Tournament, which will be played at W.S. Neal. The Lady Blue Eagles will play Flomaton Thursday at 6:30 p.m., T.R. Miller Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Escambia County Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
At W.S. Neal
Northview 11 4 4 18 – 37
W.S. Neal 18 19 13 7 – 57
NORTHVIEW (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) White 10-2-4-30; Williams 1-0-0-2; Killam 1-0-0-2; Digman 1-0-0-2; Hollingsworth 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 13-2-5-37)
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Marshall 7-1-1-18; Andrews 5-1-0-13; Nolan 4-0-2-10; Bradley 2-1-0-7; Thompson 3-0-0-6; Matthews 0-1-0-3 (Totals: 21-4-3-57)