February 2, 2013

Prep roundup: Lady Cats basketball keep pace in league

Dalton High’s girls basketball team is working on earning the best seed possible for the quickly approaching Region 7-4A tournament.

Along the way, the Lady Catamounts will try to pick up as much tournament-type experience as possible.

Maddie Howell had 24 points as Dalton picked up a hard-fought 67-58 win at LaFayette on Friday, which was senior night for the Lady Ramblers.

The Lady Cats (18-6, 7-2 Sub-region 7B-4A) were ahead at the end of each quarter, although it wasn’t much distance from the Lady Ramblers, leading 17-13, 32-27 and 52-37.

Brooke Thomas added 16 points and Carson Sharp had 10 for Dalton, but LaFayette’s Tava Young and Michaela Suttles each matched Howell’s total, with Young scoring all of her points from behind the arc.

“(LaFayette) shot the ball extremely well in the second half,” Lady Cats coach Jeff McKinney said. “We would extend it out and get an 18-point lead, and then we wouldn’t score for the next three possession and they’d hit three 3-pointers. It was one of those games where we would run out and they would catch up.”

With the test passed and the Lady Cats still atop the sub-region standings, McKinney was glad for the lessons provided.

“It was good because we had to play four quarters,” he said. “We only made seven turnovers tonight, and that’s really good compared to the other night, when we made five turnovers (to start) the second half. Offensively, I was very pleased — we just didn’t do a very good job defensively.”

Dalton boys 78, LaFayette 63: Alex Bautista’s 35 points matched a career high set earlier this season and Dalton used a strong second half to nullify a second-quarter rally by the host Ramblers.

The Cats (16-6, 6-3 Sub-region 7B-4A) led 31-18 after the first quarter — during which Bautista had 15 points — but got outscored 20-11 in the next period. However, Dalton pushed its lead to 20 points in the second half and kept LaFayette at bay.

“It was a good win on the road in a tough place to play,” Cats coach Mike Duffie said. “We came out focused after a tough loss (to Northwest Whitfield) on Tuesday ready to play the way we did, so I was pleased to see that.”

Bautista also had eight rebounds, while Demond Rucker notched a double-double with 10 points and as many rebounds and Rico Mears chipped in 13 points.

Christian Heritage boys 81, Temple 64: Playing a non-region matchup on the road, the Lions rolled behind Cameron Locke’s big performance.

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